This post is mostly inspired by the TK Stroganoff thread, but I've been meaning to write it for awhile.
The braising liquid in the TK Stroganoff recipe calls for red wine, mushrooms, shallots, carrots, leeks, bay leaves, etc, etc good things. The short rib is braised in this good liquid, and then the liquid and vegetables DISCARDED. The short rib is later enrobed in a delicious cream and mushroom sauce (which has also been refined, so plenty of flavor.)
I understand TK is all about refinement, but good grief. The waste! This is his home-cooking book. I see people on CH pouring good bottles of wine into this stuff. The fact is, the aromatics just flavor the braising liquid, which only sticks to the outside of the meat and has minimal effect on the flavor of the meat. I can understand making an awesome braising liquid if you're going to reduce it into a sauce. If you're going to throw it away, it'd be ALMOST as good if you just threw a bouillon cube into some cheap red wine-no need to reduce. The amount of salt is pretty much the most important thing.
I used to work for someone who has been on TCM. Our standard mirepoix recipe amount was 2 onions, 8 carrots, and some celery, for like 10-20 lbs of meat. Our braising red wine for boeuf bourguignon was Carlo Rossi jugs of burgundy (! He is from Burgundy.)
I don't mind if someone wants to go through all that work just to throw it away if they're looking for like a 2% improvement in the outcome. I just don't want people to think that if they don't have mushrooms or leeks, or good wine, they can't make good food.
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