Food

Recipe Tester: BRAISE by Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark

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I happen to like to curl up with a pile of cookbooks before bedtime, and read them just as fodder for my dinner party fantasies, but really, how can you judge a cookbook without testing the recipes?

In this section, we’ll test recipes from big new shiny cookbooks and see how well they work.

First up is Daniel Boulud’s Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine. (11/1, ecco) The concept is “global braising”—recipes inspired by cooks at Boulud’s restaurants and travels to exotic places, all using my favorite cooking technique.

The chef offers fish and vegetable recipes, but braising is really about meat. I made the Lamb Shanks Rogan Josh, which were falling off the bone and explosively flavorful.

There was a lot of fat that needed to be skimmed, which the recipe did not mention, and the braising liquid needed to cook down on the stove after the lamb was done. But those are details the average cook can figure out. The flavors and cooking time were precise. The bigger challenge with many of the recipes will be finding the ingredients. But then again, this is New York.

With winter ahead, perhaps a beer-braised beef shoulder with gingerbread will come in handy when granny’s pot roast recipe gets old, or Oaxacan pork belly with pineapple in plantains, or duck with green picholine olives… you get the picture.