What to do with used braising liquid?
January 16, 2010 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What should I do with leftover braising liquid?

I have about 1/3 gallon of leftover braising liquid in my freezer from some short ribs that I made about a week ago. I would like to use it in a stew or soup or something. I saw the rebraising thread, but I don't think that's the route I want to take.

I would love it if you could include a recipe with any recommendations, too. The liquid is thicker than stock but not quite as reduced as demi-glace.
posted by Aizkolari to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Just combine it with stock to make a delicious beef stew (or other type of stew). My favorite beef stew is pretty simple, using a Le Creuset french oven (though you could presumably use another pan):

-saute sliced mushrooms in butter, remove from pan
-saute onions in butter, remove from pan, add to mushrooms
-coat stewing beef with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour
-saute in butter, remove from pan
-deglaze pan w/ dry red wine
-put beef, mushrooms, and onions back into pan, add stock (or half stock half braising liquid, or whatever gets you to the desired concentration)
-simmer for 1-2hrs, covered
-add 2 bay leaves, a bit of thyme (dry or fresh), carrots, and diced white potatoes
-simmer uncovered for another 1-2 hrs until beef is tender
I use the following proportion of ingredients: 1lb of beef, 1 cup of onions, 1 bag of baby carrots, 2 medium white potatoes, and 10oz of mushrooms; 1tsp dry thyme or 1tbsp fresh thyme.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:56 AM on January 16, 2010

It seems fairly straightforward -- you'd use it in a 1:4 ratio of liquid to stock. Maybe a little more. I love the idea of freezing it and having it around.

Something that strongly flavored would be especially good in a bean soup, which sometimes suffer from a little dullness and could really benefit from the flavor.

It would also be a good addition to risotto, like a mushroom risotto, with red wine.

1/3 of a gallon is more than a quart, though, right? And it's pretty strongly flavored? I think if it were me I'd do a quick defrost and then refreeze in ice cubes if it's currently a solid block. At that point, I'd treat it and think of it as a flavoring, not as a liquid. (This is something I've lately been trying to do with meat in general--bits of sausage in pasta sauce, stuff like that, whereas before I had the attitude that everything was just as good veggies only. I was seriously in denial on that point.)

Other things: poach an egg in it; use it as a base for gravy on mashed potatoes mixed with some tough green, like kale; use it as a base for some kind of barbecue or steak sauce.

If you freeze it in ice cubes you can deglaze pans with it -- like if you were making a steak, and the steak was resting, you could throw in one or two of those cubes, let it sizzle and reduce by half, take off heat and add a tablespoon of butter.

Having stuff like that around is a fantastic investment in future meals. It's good you saved it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:32 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

you could reduce it further with a roux (flour + butter) and have a veloute.
posted by toastchee at 11:08 AM on January 16, 2010

How salty is it? Depending on how you seasoned those ribs, you might have a rather salty liquid. You'll want to account for that in anything you make.

I'd probably use it to sauté veggies and add some richness and flavor. Some sliced portobello mushrooms sautéd in that with a bit of garlic would make a nice weeknight side dish. It would also work as a flavor for pan roasted potatoes.

Basically, you've got an ingredient that has the yummy taste of slow cooking. Add it to improve the flavor of your fast cook dinners.
posted by 26.2 at 11:42 AM on January 16, 2010

I braised some oxtail in chipotle, sugar, and vinegar recently and was left with very fatty and gelatinous spicy braising liquid. It made my normally delicious spanish rice absolutely insane and addictive.
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:31 PM on January 16, 2010

If it's not too salty, I always reduce the braising liquid and use it to glaze the meat. Like a gravy or ju. This adds 100x more flavor to the meat. Like night and day.
posted by BradNelson at 5:28 PM on January 16, 2010

Cook lentils in it! Bring it to a low boil in a pot and pour in a pound or so of lentils. French green are the best if you can find them. Should take 30 minutes or so at a gentle simmer. Excellent as a warm lunch on cold days (even just with broth and herbs). To make your lentils even more hearty, dice small 3-4 potatoes, and add them in the last 10 min of cooking.

I'm sure you could also use only half of your liquid, with half water, and still have something very delicious.
posted by fontophilic at 10:09 AM on January 17, 2010

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