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Praise the Braise

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In Praise of the Braise

Lest we forget

The British Isles is home to some of the Finest Beef in the World

However don't be misled that quoting a particular breed guarantees Premium Quality Beef

Beef perfection
Its upbringing, environment, diet, hands-on husbandry, Dry Aging on the bone - and finally expert cutting - are each indispensable elements of bringing Beef perfection your table  

True roasting majesty of traditional Cuts
But in our pursuit of ever more new tastes we can sometimes forget the true roasting majesty of such traditional Cuts of Beef such as Topside and Silverside 

We aren’t talking about the disappointment of Supermarket Silverside and Topside joints - but an entirely different, hand-raised, eating experience - far removed from those insipid, industrially-produced offerings

Silverside - one of the traditional Beef Classics
Silverside is one of the traditional Beef Classics - cut from the back of the thigh - which gets its name from the silvery membrane that covers its surface

Silverside consists of a pair of overlapping muscles - which have a wide grain texture. 

As it’s quite lean it is often larded or barded with fat before cooking - and basted frequently during cooking

Low and slow
Perfect for a low and slow Pot Roast, Stews, marinated for the frying pan - and for Burgers  - as opposed to fast roasting

Spiced Beef
Dividing the Silverside two muscles along its natural seam - the larger muscle is perfect for brining, boiling as spiced Beef - or for dry curing such as Bresaola 

The smaller muscle also known as a Pope’s Eye makes excellent Pot Roasts

Also used to make Salt beef or Corned Beef.

Topside - a little more tender than Silverside
Also known as Top Rump - Topside is the long inner muscle of the thigh - and like Silverside it’s quite lean and is often larded or barded with fat before cooking - and basted frequently during cooking

A little more tender than Silverside and more than holds its own as a classic roast that can be served pink

However like Silverside it should not be fast roasted - rather but slowly with some stock or water in the roasting tin

Excellent for slow roasting and braising
As well as being excellent for slow roasting and braising Topside is also sensational served cold

Flash frying
Thickly sliced and cut into strips - Topside can also be used for quick marinating and flash frying

Braises and Stews - what’s the difference?
It's a well-kept kitchen secret - Braising makes heroes out of weekend cooks. 

There is no other technique that asks so little yet gives so much back. 

Braising may sound complicated, but you probably already know it by a more familiar term - Pot Roasting. 

And while Braising is similar to Stewing, the two cooking methods do have some slight differences.

Both are moist heat, slow cooking methods that tenderize the Beef and develop rich Beef flavour

Both start with less-tender Beef Cuts as this cooking method softens the strong muscle fibres and connective tissue, guaranteeing tender, moist, flavourful results.

The Difference?
Braising cooks large cuts of Beef in enough liquid to partially cover the meat 

Stewing uses small, uniform pieces of Beef for Pot Roast, or Beef for Stew meat that are totally immersed in liquid. This technique is used in Beef Bourguignon.

How To Braise 
It's what you do before the Braise goes into the oven that counts. 

Sear Your Meat 
Season the meat on all sides. Pour oil into a heavy lidded pot - set over medium-high heat, then add the meat. Don't crowd the pot and take time to get deep colour all over. Remove meat; set aside.

Prepare Your Vegetables 
Cook chopped onions, celery, carrots, etc. in the drippings left behind from searing, stirring frequently. Like the sear, use medium-high heat and aim for a caramel brown colour - without scorching your ingredients.

Deglaze The Pot 
Add the Braising liquid, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden turner. These bits are flavour bombs. When they're dissolved in the cooking liquid they enrich the entire dish.

Braise It 
Return the meat to the pot, with any accumulated juices and the stock. The meat should not be submerged - (adding too much stock will ultimately dilute the sauce.) Bring the liquid to a simmer - not a boil, then cover and slide into a hot oven

The Next Level 
Add more veg: If your recipe includes added vegetables (such as Fennel, Potatoes, or Greens), add them to the pot 45 minutes before the meat is done. Check the liquid. If it's low (say, less than an inch), add a splash more. Return pot to the oven.

Reduce The Sauce 
When the meat is fork-tender, remove it and any vegetables. Skim surface fat, then simmer until you've got a rich sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Return meat (and vegetables, if using) to the pot to heat through.
Most Braises prescribe a standard, usually the classic onion-carrot-celery combinations. But for a twist, add one of these ingredients as well.

Citrus Zest: A couple of wide strips of Orange, Lemon, or Lime zest add a subtle citrus perfume

Mushroom: Wild or cultivated Mushrooms (either fresh or dried) give any dish a deep, woody flavour

Anchovy: Minced Anchovies provide an umami blast - savoury, briny, and complex without tasting fishy

Ginger: A fine julienne of fresh Ginger (or Galangal, if you can find it) adds a note of sweet heat and fresh spice

Lemongrass: This lemony stalk provides a bright citrus hit with a distinct floral aspect

Braising Liquid: Make it count. Most Braises are done with stock and/or wine. But a splash of this or that brings balance, complexity, and depth to the final product.

Fresh Stock underscores the meatiness of the main ingredient. Match the stock with the protein when you can, but Fresh Chicken Stock is universal.

Darker stouts and porters play well with Beef, as do certain Belgian ales. 

Water is often overlooked as a braising liquid, but it works when you want to keep things light or if there are other strong flavors at play. It's always a better choice than poor-quality Stock 

Wine adds nuance and a jolt of acidity to any dish. Use it in combination with Stock and, whether red or white, choose something dry. Cook with a bottle you'd actually drink.

How to Take Your Braise from Good to Great 
A proper Braise needs no embellishment, but sometimes we can't resist adding a final flourish to brighten, boost, or add texture to the dish. here are a few ideas to get you started: 

A handful of just-chopped herbs (Parsley, Mint, Celery) adds colour and freshness. 

Grated citrus zest and a squeeze of juice injects a bright note. A splash of vinegar balances the richness. A pinch of Maldon sea salt gives any dish a saline crunch. A dollop of crème fraiche or heavy cream will mellow. Spice blends, such as Shichimi Togarashi or Za'atar lend a savoury punch. 

The great thing about Pot Roasts 
The great thing about a Pot Roast is that it feeds the same number of people but leaves you in peace until you're ready to serve. 

A fraction of the price 
Its other great virtue is that it enables you to use some of those very lean, delicious cuts of meat that are not suitable for roasting, and cost a fraction of the price of the more expensive fast roasting Cuts!

Get ready for easy-to-cook, inexpensive but flavour-packed indulgence
A slow-cooked roast is a wonderful indulgence on a cold day

Here are just some recipes to get you thinking:

•   Pot-roast Beef with French Onion Gravy - by Jane Hornby
 Silverside and Topside are cheaper and leaner Cuts of meat, well-suited to slow-cooking. The stock and juices make a great sauce when combined with caramelised Onions.
Preparation time 15 mins : Cooking time 2 hrs 15 mins. 
Click here for Topside, Silverside, Fresh Beef Stock
(Click title for recipe)

Braised Beef in Red Wine - by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo
Tender, lean Topside of Beef, marinated and cooked slowly in Red wine with herbs and vegetables.
Preparation time overnight : Cooking time over 2 hours. 
Click here for Topside
(Click title for recipe)

Beef and Pepper Kebabs
These skewers are very easy to make and packed with flavour.
Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hr : Cooking time 10 to 30 mins. 
Click here for Topside
(Click title for recipe)

• Beef Stew with fluffy Dumplings - by James Martin
This is the ultimate cold-weather comforter that will stick to your ribs after a hearty wintry walk. 
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time over 2 hours.
 Click here for Silverside
(Click title for recipe)

• Roast Beef with Caramelised Onion Gravy - by Sarah Cook
Rare roast Topside is the ultimate centrepiece - make it extra special with Marmite and Sweet Onion Gravy
Preparation time 30 mins : Cooking Time 1 hr 30 mins -  plus overnight marinating.
 Click here for
Topside, Caramelised Onion Chutney
(Click title for recipe)

•  Roast Beef wrapped in Mustard, Cheese and Parma Ham
Ideal celebratory or weekend roast. Topside or Silverside joint wrapped in Mustard, Cream Cheese and Parma Ham - Lush!
Preparation time 10 mins : Cooking time: Rare: 20 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 20 minutes Medium: 25 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 25 minutes Well: 30 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 30 minutes.
Click here for Topside, Silverside
(Click title for recipe)

•  Winter Pot Roast
A real winter warmer. Garnish with Parsley and serve with Cauliflower Cheese.
Preparation time 20 mins : Cooking time: 1 hr 20 mins.
Click here for Silverside
(Click title for recipe)

So why not enjoy Free Range Topside or Silverside joints any day of the Week - available fresh - Instore or Online 

So whether you choose one of the recipes above - or are just inspired to further explore the possibilities of Topside or Silverside recipes - we hope we have given you plenty to chew on. 

Now live and fresh Online
Godfreys Free Range Silverside, Topside and other Beef Roasting Cuts - including Mini Roasts for the smaller gathering - are now live - complete with How to Cook instructions on - and Related Recipes at www.godfreys.co

Give it a Click 
So why not give it a Click - and experience a whole new way to enjoy Godfreys Free Range Premium Meats and Poultry - all week long - by ordering from the comfort of you own home - or office - at a time that is convenient to you 

We do the rest - be it if you would prefer delivery direct to your door Nationwide - or at our Click and Collect Points in Highbury or Finsbury Park. 

Bon Appetit
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