Mar. 10th, 2013

vampyrichamster: (Default)
My aromatic mulling spice experiment was a failure. I dramatically underestimated the cloves in the spice mix I was using as the base layer of aromatics. The original idea was, I would lay on the ex-mulling spices -- mostly pepper pods and cloves mixed in with a lot of raisins and almonds -- at the bottom of the pan, and steam-braise the seasoned brisket on top, propped upon many chopped carrots. I would then use mulled wine concentrate (the failed Christmas mulled wine) mixed in with water for the braising liquid.

What came out of the oven three hours later clearly leaves a lot to be desired. For a start, the devil with the cloves. Everything tasted like cloves. The wondrous beef juices in the dark spiced wine (already clove-y when it went in) now tastes like some kind of experimental pickling liquid as I imagine it would in the medieval age, used to mask spoiling meat in a terrifying fumigation of spices. I diluted about two ladlefuls of the stuff in soy milk and kidney bean tin drippings (we were having the pot roast with beans), which made a passable, more vaguely clove-tasting sauce. The rest will probably be frozen and reused in highly diluted form whenever I need some kind of red wine base for a red meat sauce. I am still loathe to throw it away. It just needs a lot of dilution.

The mulling spices were briefly rinsed and scattered under the trees outside as compost. I can't imagine the racoon dumb enough to try and eat that. It smells medieval and tastes like disinfectant. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll even kill a few slugs.

The carrots I had hoped to eat, redolent with beef juices, instead absorbed so much clove-infused wine, they were soft, tender, purpled pieces of astringent by the time I fished them out. They shall be buried, under a tree. Again, they will likely not be eaten by either man nor beast. Unless they intend to smoke it.

To add insult to injury, the beef came out much drier than I thought it would. It wasn't bad, just too done. Now, it was the one thing spared the cloven-footed flavours of the sauce, but I will grumpily have to find something to do with a rabbit-sized round of leftover beef. Maybe fresh rolls. I think I can still do that right.

(You'd think I would have figured out once-used mulling spices were still able to impart all their dark flavours into a braising liquid over three hours in the pot before I attempted such an experiment. Alas, no.)

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