Braising is comfort cooking at its finest, and it’s surprisingly easy. With most of the hands-on work done before the dish even goes in the oven, there is ample time to relax as the braise warms the house with an enticing, rich perfume. Read on for some tips and 3 classic braising recipes to enjoy this winter.
Shop braising cuts at dartagnan.com and get inspired for a weekend kitchen project.
What is Long Braising?
In long braising, or braisage, tough cuts of meat such as short ribs, shoulders, shanks, and briskets are browned in fat, then liquid and aromatics are added and the dish is cooked at very low temperature, staying below a simmer, for a long period of time.
Cooking meat slow and low breaks down the sinewy connective tissue, first into collagen, then melting into gelatin. The cooking liquid reduces to become the accompanying rich and complex sauce.
The fork-tender meat may get top billing in braised dishes but the rich, luscious sauce is just as important. This long gentle method of cooking does most of the sauce work for you, but you may add flour to thicken, skim fat from the top, or reduce further.
The Right Equipment for Braising
There is really only one piece of special equipment needed for braising – the vessel. Always use a non-reactive, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Your pot should be deep enough to hold all the ingredients while allowing about two inches of space at the top for evaporation and condensation.
For basic braising, we recommend a simple Dutch oven made from enameled cast iron as it conducts and holds heat evenly and can be used to both brown the meat stovetop, then finish braising in the oven for true one-pot cooking.
Basic Browning Tips
When browning meat for braising, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Never skip this step as browning the meat is an essential part of the braising process and your dish will lack flavor without it.
- Lean or tender cuts should be patted dry for a more intense browning effect.
- Fatty cuts should be dusted with flour pre-searing to develop a nice crust that will help to hold juices in.
- Heat your oil (duck fat works beautifully!) over a high flame until quite hot then add your meat. Get the meat evenly brown and crusty on all sides. Be mindful not to crowd the pan, working in batches if necessary.
Braising Quick Tips
- When reheating, remove the meat from the thickened sauce and bring it to a low boil then toss the meat back in just to heat through.
- Braised dishes freeze beautifully – make a big pot, freeze individual portions in airtight containers and enjoy on a cold, rainy day.
- Braised meats also make fantastic leftovers. Try adding to tacos or burritos, shepherd’s pie, pasta, sandwiches or salads.
Here are 3 classic recipes that are perfect examples of braising.
Chicken thighs, mushrooms, and French pancetta create quite the comforting dish when slow-cooked in a creamy white wine sauce. It’s our version of Coq au Riesling. Serve with mashed potatoes and crusty bread for a rustic, satisfying supper.
Stew is probably the most commonly known braised dish. In this recipe, tomatillos and fresh cilantro add a zestiness to Cat Cora’s lamb stew, inspired by a traditional navarin.
Our Angus beef brisket is slow-cooked in an entire bottle of red wine and other aromatics in this deeply satisfying recipe. Hearty and rustic, it’s the perfect dish for a chilly weekend.
Explore our other braising recipes and discover a new favorite. What do you like to braise?
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