Top Chef 101

I like to watch cooking shows. I blame my father. He’s a huge fan of Alton Brown and Guy Fieri, along with many other Food Network shows. When I was unmarried and living at home, Sunday evening was Food Network night at the Atkinson household. We watched a cake challenge followed by Iron Chef America. On a really good night, my dad would make us one of his own yummy food creations such as nachos. That was the nice thing about living with my dad – he didn’t just watch the Food Network; if he saw something he liked, he’d make it himself. Usually this resulted in good things for us to eat. On occasion, however, we would politely (or not so politely) decline his culinary experiment (like the time he combined apples, mushrooms, and coconut milk in one dish…).

Another cooking show that my parents and I have enjoyed watching is Top Chef. It is a reality chef competition on Bravo. Since I’ve had more free time the last couple months while the woman I work for is on maternity leave, I’ve caught a few marathons of Top Chef. ย  A cooking term I heard a lot was “braised.” Braised beef, braised lamb, braised ox tail. Everything was braised.

The last time I made a major trip to the grocery store, I bought three shoulder steaks because they were cheap. I don’t know a lot about buying meat. I try to get packages of meat that have the labels on them that say something like “Great for marinating” or “Great for broiling” so I have at least some idea of what to do with it. I also rely on Google. And for this particular cut of meat, popular opinion was that I should braise it.

I thought, “Aha! All those episodes of Top Chef will actually pay off.” Except not really, since you don’t learn how to cook on Top Chef like you do on Food Network shows. But I still FELT like a Top Chef. For my first attempt, I braised the meat in a tomato based sauce with baby portobellas. The meat was super tender and Dave really enjoyed it.

Tonight I braised meat for the second time. Maybe I’m using the wrong wording or something, but I’ve had trouble finding recipes for braising. I didn’t want to cook the same sauce as the first time, so I invented my own! And not to toot my own horn but…it was delicious. I’m going to share it with you now. If you ever want to feel like a Top Chef and braise meat, try this sauce! Let me know what you think of it – all suggestions are welcome.

Bekah’s Really Awesome Asian Inspired Braised Meat

  • 1 shoulder steak (or try this with a similar tough cut of meat)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • ย 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 1/2 T creamy peanut butter
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 bottle Yuengling or similar lager

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside. Heat 3 T EVOO in a large saucepan (ideally you’d have a Dutch Oven, but I don’t). Season meat with salt and pepper and sear each side. Once seared, pour the sauce into the pan with the meat. Bring to a boil, then cover it and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for an hour and a half. Remove meat from the sauce and slice. To thicken the sauce, I turned the heat to medium, whisked in two tablespoons of flour, and allowed the sauce to cook uncovered for about 15 minutes. Then I returned the sliced meat to the sauce and let it all simmer for another 10 minutes.

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3 thoughts on “Top Chef 101

  1. I would say that I will try this recipe but I don’t cook much these days. So, I’ll get dad to do it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love,
    Mommy

  2. apples, coconut milk and mushrooms…oh my! haha… wow!! that braised meat sounds delicious!!! I’ll have you make it for me sometime ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol

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