My latest class was all about braising/stewing and the Traditional European dishes that have made there way onto some fancy smacy menu's. I'm sure most of you cook with these two methods on a weekly basis but you just don't realize the "too cool for school" technical terms. Braising and Stewing are very similar methods, they both involve tougher cuts /or working muscles and typically take a longer time to cook. The main difference between the two; is that Braising involves a larger cut of meat and is finished off in the oven., Stewing, is more often than not cubed (preferably into 1" pieces) and left on a stove top. The "longer" cooking time comes into play because you are using tougher cuts of meat that need more time to break down and become tender. One of the most popular braised dishes now a days are short ribs. Below is a pic of some short ribs I made over white truffle polenta (it was a great dish to have on one of those rare Florida cold nights).
Here are some photo's from class - where we also learned how to make fresh pasta. The photo is of "shower curtain" pasta, where you take two sheets of pasta and add fresh herbs in between.
"Shower Curtain Pasta"
Braised Lamb Shanks