Braising--cooking food slowly and at low temperatures in a closed pot with a little liquid--produces deeply flavorful food. Molly Stevens's All About Braising is a definitive exploration of this soul-satisfying approach to food. With 125 simple recipes for braises of all kinds--from meat and poultry through seafood and vegetables, plus a thorough anatomy of technique (Stevens explores oven versus stovetop braising, for example)--the book will please cooks at every skill level. Most importantly, perhaps, it will send them to the kitchen to prepare enticing dishes such as Braised Endive with Prosciutto, Whole Chicken Braised with Pears and Rosemary, Duck Ragu with Pasta, and Veal Shoulder Braised with Figs & Sherry. Braises can also taste as good or better the next day, and Stevens supplies advice for second-day service. Included, too, is an "Opinionated Pantry" which, besides exploring relevant ingredients, expresses Stevens's ongoing commitment to using only the best and freshest available.
Throughout, Stevens's offers sensible, rewarding counsel. "If it comes down to a matter of cooking or not cooking dinner for your family," she says, "I recommend buying commercially raised chicken [as opposed to locally produced or other naturally raised poultry]. Make a satisfying home cooked meal, and sit down and enjoy it with your family." In other words, Stevens is wise. "The act of cooking on a regular basis will make you a better cook," she concludes, "and will improve the quality of your life and of those around you." --Arthur Boehm