The Thrifty Trick to Better Braises

Chef Tim Love's Braised Pork Shanks © Tina Rupp
By Chelsea Morse Posted November 11, 2014

The smartest chefs are always looking for simple ways to build flavor while using every bit of their ingredients. Here, chef Ian Wilson of Fenrir in Portland, Oregon shares a brilliant tip on creating economical, umami-packed stocks for braising.

The smartest chefs are always looking for simple ways to build flavor while utilizing every bit of their ingredients. Here, chef Ian Wilson of Fenrir in Portland, Oregon shares a brilliant tip on creating versatile, economical, umami-packed stocks for braising:

"Whenever we’re braising meats at the restaurant, we save our stocks. Any liquids that are left over from braising, we pour them off, strain out the solids and freeze them. You don't need a whole lot: just reserve a quart of the liquid in your freezer and melt it down as the base for your braise the next time around, instead of using unseasoned stock or broth. When you do that over and over, it concentrates the glutamic acid, which is responsible for umami flavor. Over time, as you do this, all the braises that you make become more and more and more savory – not saltier, just richer. It gets to a point where you barely have to season your food, and they just turn out amazing. It'll become a 20th generation stock, recycled. People will wonder, 'How is this braise so rich, and the texture so perfect?'"

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