The Staub Braiser Giveaway!

I’m thrilled to be teaming up with my friend Suzy Karadsheh at The Mediterranean Dish. We’re combining our efforts to offer a giveaway of this beautiful Staub Braiser. Of course you know what a nut I am about the Staub braiser–I’ve been talking about it for months! And I’ve been cooking in it for months, too.

I tested all the major braising pans on the market, and the Staub is my favorite. Enter to win one today!

I tested all the major braising pans on the market, and the Staub is my favorite. Enter to win one today!

Staub braiser–how do I love thee? Let me count the ways

• It’s a beautiful enamel cast-iron pan made in Alsace, France.
• It has a lustrous dark green exterior, and a black interior (meaning it won’t stain, like pans made with cream-colored enamel).
• A braising pan is more shallow than a Dutch oven—this allows the moist heat to stay in close contact with the meat for rich, boldly flavored, ultra-tender results.
• I use this for more than braising–I roast in it, too. In fact, I keep this beauty on my stovetop all the time. It’s my go-to pan for so many things.

You know you want one—so why not sign up for the giveaway. It’s so easy:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE NOT-SO-FINE PRINT: U.S. ADDRESSES ONLY.

PS: If you love braising pans as much as I do, you might want to check out my Braiser e-Cookbook: Enjoy!

Disclaimers: The Staub company was kind enough to supply me with a braiser for this giveaway. I have not been compensated in any other way. Also, any purchases you make through the links provided will help support this site–without adding to your costs whatsoever. Thank you for your consideration. 

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Yes! You can use your braiser as a roaster.

Last night, I roasted this easy recipe for Lamb Shoulder Roast. And guess what? I used my all-time favorite pan (the braiser) to roast it.

Who needs a roasting pan when you can roast this Lamb Shoulder Provençal in your braiser?

Who needs a roasting pan when you can roast this Lamb Shoulder Provençal in your braiser?

I’ve never been troubled by the fact that I have a small kitchen. After all, most French home kitchens I’ve seen are usually even smaller than mine.

The only trouble, of course, is countertop/cupboard real estate: having enough room for all the gadgets and pans you really want in your cooking life. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions. And while I have both a roasting pan and a braiser, I’m thinking I could actually toss my roasting pan to make room for something else I love.

Because lately, I’ve been using my braiser as a roaster.

Lamb roast. Browned on the stovetop in the braiser, and ready to roast--in the braiser.

Lamb roast. Browned on the stovetop in the braiser, and ready to roast–in the braiser.

A few newbies to braising and roasting might be asking:

What’s the difference between a roasting pan and a braiser?

This is a roasting pan.

The short answer: A braiser has a lid; a roasting pan does not. In short, keep the lid off your braiser, and it’s a roasting pan.

The long answer: A braiser is a round, wide, shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid. Braising involves cooking meats with a small amount of liquid in a vessel with a tight-fitting lid. The moist heat, low temperatures, and long cooking time turns tough cuts of meat (such as pot roasts) into meltingly tender main dishes.

A roasting pan is generally an oblong pan with a rack. It has no lid. Roasting involves cooking meats, uncovered, a higher temperatures than braising. Generally, no liquid is added–it’s a “dry heat” method. Roasting is generally best for more tender cuts of meats (such as tenderloin), though some cuts (such as pork and lamb shoulder) can be roasted at low temperatures for great results.

This is a braiser. One of my favorites, in fact: The Le Creuset Braiser. Yummy colors!

Obviously, for large, long cuts of meat (a big pork shoulder, for instance), you’ll want an oblong roasting pan. But in many cases, a large braiser will do.

How to use a braiser as a roaster: For many, many cuts, a braiser will work beautifully. Better, in fact, than many roasting pans. You see, some roasting pans are not stove-top friendly. That means if you are browning the meat first, you have to brown it in another pan, then switch it to a roasting pan. Then, when you’re ready to make a gravy or pan sauce, you have to transfer the juices back to a clean stovetop-worthy pan. Grrrr.

The braiser lets you brown and roast and make a sauce all in one pan. That’s exactly the case with the luscious recipe for lamb shoulder roast, below.

But wait a minute. Do I need a rack for roasting?: If your recipe calls for a rack, use the rack; otherwise, don’t. In general, the whole idea of a rack is to raise the meat up, keeping the bottom of the roast from “stewing in its own juices” and getting flabby. With lean cuts (say, a pork tenderloin roast), you’re not going to have that many juices, so it won’t be a problem. With other cuts (such as this lamb recipe), we don’t mind a little melty softness on the bottom of the roast.

If you do need a rack, simply buy one that will fit into your braiser. I happen to own an oval rack that fits nicely, but I also found this inexpensive rack on Amazon. Measure the diameter of your braiser. If its 11.5 inches, like the Le Creuset 3 1/2-quart round braiser, then this rack, which is 9.75 inches in diameter, should fit nicely.

 

Here’s a great way to inaugurate your braising pan as a roaster—and this recipe doesn’t need a rack. Enjoy.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lamb Shoulder Roast Provençal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
I adapted this recipe from a terrific Williams-Sonoma book called Everyday Roasting. That recipe called for a 5- to 6-pound leg butterflied and boned leg of lamb, which is great for holidays; I simplified the recipe a bit and called for a smaller cut, which is great for a more casual gathering of four to six diners. It's super easy, with few ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 3- to 4-pound boneless lamb shoulder roast
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • ½ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Using a sharp paring knife, make 10 slits at regular intervals into the lamb. Cut two of the large garlic cloves into slivers and push the slivers into the slits of lamb. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place the lamb into a resealable plastic bag set in a bowl. Add 2 cups of the wine. Seal the bag. Marinate the lamb in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.
  2. Before roasting: On a cutting board, mince the 4 remaining garlic cloves with the kalamata olives and the herbes de Provence with a little pepper until it forms a coarse paste. Drain the lamb; discard the marinade. Unroll the roast and evenly spread the olive paste in the inside of the meat. Roll up the lamb and tie securely with 100% cotton kitchen string at intervals of about 3 inches (see photo at the bottom of this post).
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a braiser or roasting pan, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Slide the braiser to the oven and roast until the meat registers 135°F (for medium-rare) or 150°F (for medium). It should take about 1½ to 2 hours for medium rare or 1¾ to 2¼ hours for medium.
  4. Remove the meat from the oven; transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let it stand 15 minutes before carving (the meat's temperature should rise 10 degrees upon standing).
  5. For the sauce, while the meat is standing, place the braiser over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook briefly until softened, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 cup red wine and cook, stirring to loosen brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by half. Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter, stirring until melted.
  6. Snip and discard the kitchen string; slice the lamb into thin slices. Arrange on a warmed platter and pass the sauce at the table.

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Kitchen string is the ticket. As is Herbes de Provence. You can get both at well-stocked supermarkets.

Here’s what I always serve with just about any roast:

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My recipe for French Scalloped Potatoes/Gratin Dauphinoise is the easiest.

For a side dish, you can’t go wrong with roasted asparagus or any beautiful, in-season green veggie. Haricot-verts, brussels sprouts, fresh peas…..mmmmmmm.

Update: The third printing of The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day is due in the warehouse on May 2nd….Finally! You can order it now on Amazon.com, and they’ll ship it to you as soon as they have it.

 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a very small credit when you make a purchase through a link I provide (even if you don’t buy exactly what I’m writing about!). Purchasing through one of my links helps support my work on this blog. Keep in mind, I’d never recommend a product I didn’t love! 

 

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French Easter Traditions + Great French Easter Wines + Great French Potluck Recipe

Happy Easter everyone! Here’s how to add a little savoir-faire to this solemn yet joyous holiday, including: An Easy French Potluck Dish for Easter (it’s a simple recipe for Gratin Dauphinoise) and three Great French Rosés. Also, the answer to that question: “What’s with the Chocolate Bells on Easter in France?”

1. Great French Side Dish for Easter

So, you’ve been asked to bring a dish to Easter Dinner, and you’re thinking: Hmmmmm….maybe something French. (That’s what I’d be thinking, anyway). Here’s what I’d be bringing:

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French Scalloped Potatoes (Gratin Dauphinoise).

I’ve posted the recipe, below.

2. Three Great French Rosé Wines for Easter

I love Rosé for day drinking, and in my experience, they’re a shoo-in for Easter. They provide the bright refreshment that goes well with a spring day; many have a little more heft than a white—they’ll mesh well with all that food, without weighing you down. If you’re serving ham, they’re especially amazing–they just go so well with the salty-sweetness of the meat.

GrisBlanc Gerard BertrandHere are three that always make my list!

• Gerard Bertrand Gris-Blanc (Pays d’Oc; $13): This rosé has just a whisper of pink—bringing just enough red-fruit roundness to add a silky angle to the otherwise “crisp-dry white” feel of the wine.

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé (France; $18): Find French elegance at a moderate price in this Grenache- and Cinsault-based rosé. Enjoy the zip of raspberries and red currants balanced by a firm, round mouth-feel.

• H&B (Hecht and Bannier) (Pays d’Oc; $18): A classic South-of-France rosé. Enjoy bright red fruit made even brighter with a tropical fruit character.

3. A “Belle” Easter Bell Tradition

Cloche de Pâques. According to Easter lore, church bells fly over France en route from Rome, dropping chocolate Easter eggs along the way.

Did you know: The French are more likely to have chocolate Easter bells or eggs than Easter bunnies. Here’s why: The bells are silenced on Good Friday, then ring again on Easter. Parents tell their children that the ringers were sent to Rome, and that when the bells fly back, they drop chocolate eggs all their way home.

So–here’s the recipe I promised. Enjoy!

 

Easy Gratin Dauphinoise (French Scalloped Potatoes)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
 
The easiest recipe for Gratin Dauphinoise (French Scalloped Potatoes) ever.
Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups 2 percent or whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup shredded Comté, Gruyère, or Emmental cheese (about 2 ounces)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a 2-quart baking dish all over with the garlic and discard the garlic. Coat the inside of the dish with the butter.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, milk, cream, salt, pepper, and a few gratings of nutmeg. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, gently turning the potatoes once or twice with a slotted spoon. Spoon the potatoes evenly into the baking dish and pour the milk mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.
  3. Bake until the cheese is golden and the potatoes are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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