What is braising?
Braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is browned in fat, then two-thirds covered in liquid and simmered in a covered pot over a low heat. It’s one of the best ways to prepare hearty, homely comfort food.
Benefits of braising:
- Renders cheaper, tougher cuts of meat tender and flavourful
- Makes its own sauce or gravy.
- Most of the cooking time doesn’t require much attention – perfect for entertaining.
- One-pot cooking means minimal clean-up.
- Cuts down on waste: anything leftover can be reheated or frozen for another day
What can I braise?
Use tougher, less tender cuts of meat – a lean cut is a waste to braise and will be far less flavoursome.
- Beef chuck
- Beef, pork or lamb shoulder
- Beef or pork cheeks
- Beef brisket
- Lamb shanks
- Beef short ribs
- Chicken legs and thighs, bones in
- Root vegetables
- Fruits like apples or pears (the sweetness goes well with pork)
- Season the main ingredient with salt and black pepper.
The braising process:
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil and/or butter in a heavy pan or casserole.
- Brown the outsides of the meat in the pan over a medium-high heat.
- Remove the meat and deglaze the pan by adding a little stock, juice, wine or other alcohol. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any sticky bits of meat from the bottom.
- Add the meat back in and cover two-thirds of the way with a cooking liquid, which can be water, stock, wine, juice or a combination.
- Cover and cook the meat over a low heat on the hob or in a low oven.
- Cook until completely tender. This can take from 1-6 hours, depending on what you’re cooking.
- Strain the meat and vegetables out of the liquid.
- Skim off any excess fat floating in the liquid, then reduce the sauce to desired thickness, or make gravy by adding a roux.