Braising is two-step cooking process in which meat or vegetables are first cooked in a skillet to promote browning and then cooked in a flavorful liquid over a long period of time. However, unlike stewing or poaching, the food is not totally submerged in the liquid.
Cooks braise when they want to soften tougher cuts of meat and very hard root vegetables as the combination of time, liquid, and heat will loosen meat fibers and add flavor.
As I understand the term “braised,” I made braised potatoes last Friday. My son had tossed several spuds into the pan I was using to hold potato peels, covering them in potato juice. Figuring that putting the potatoes back into the bag was a good way to ruin the rest of the spuds in the sack, I figured I should cook them. Unfortunately, my judgement was a bit off and what I thought would make enough mashed potates for dinner and perhaps lunch the next day turned into the largest batch of mashed potatoes I have ever prepared. Which left me with four medium sized golden potatoes that I did not want to add into the boiling water for fear of overflow.
Still on an Indian kick, I decided to experiment. This is what I used:
- 2 tablespoons of ghee (butter or olive oil is fine)
- 4 medium sized golden potatoes cut into 1/4 inch coins
- 1 teaspon of cumin seeds
- 1 pinch of red pepper flake (more is fine)
- 1/4 cup of broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powdeer
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- salt to taste
- Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. When the ghee is melted, toast the cumin seeds and the red pepper flake.
- Add enough potatoes to cover the bottom of the skillet. Do not pile the potatoes on top of each other. Season with salt.
- Stir the potatoes to coat in the ghee/seed/pepper flake mixture to coat and let cook for two-three minutes, until the potatoes begin to change color.
- Add enough broth to come up half way on the potatoes. Cover with a lid. The potatoes are ready when they are fork tender.
- Move to a serving dish and add the ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, pepper, and any additional salt. Toss to ensure all potatoes are covered in the spice.
Try this dish. I enjoyed the cinnamon and the potato combination far more than I had hoped.
So if you don’t mash ’em or fry ’em, what do you do with your potatoes?