At the end of the day, braising is just cooking a tough cut of meat gently. Searing before hand, then adding liquid and a variety of vegetables in liquid in water or stock. Given the patience of time you'll have a succulent protein, a rich sauce and a display of colourful veggies. It's pretty much hands off. A homemade braising recipe takes your basic pantry ingredients and transforms them into a week long feast for the crew at home. It'll be ready after the hours of home schooling and while you're working from home. It's saucy, and perfect for soaking noodles or even Yorkshire puddings, rice, or potatoes. And it's an obvious choice for a Jewish holiday feast.
Any braise is a combination of your favourite ingredients. There's no actual right or wrong. Here's how we approach our non-recipe dish.
Best Cuts Of Meat For Braising:
Eye Of The Round Beef
Blade Roast Beef
Top Sirloin Roast Beef
Pork Loin Roast
Chicken Legs & Thighs
The Secret To A Successful Braise:
Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to all sides of meat. In a heavy pot or a Dutch Oven, add 3 tbsp robust olive oil. Sear meat on medium heat, on all sides, getting the meat as brown as possible. Remove from pot and get all your other ingredients ready.
This is your time to get creative with what you have on hand. Here are some ideas including our very own infused oils and balsamics. You'll add them to the pot with remaining oil and bits and pieces. Saute for a few minutes.
Garlic Olive Oil; be generous
Carrots and Celery (classic combo)
Sweet Peppers (various colours)
Potatoes (peeled and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces)
Fennel Bulb (sliced fine)
Deglaze with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favourite dark balsamic. We like Traditional or Fig. Apricot white balsamic is another option. Scrape all the bits and pieces from the bottom. Place all other ingredients in pot, then add the meat on top. Add enough water to partially cover the meat but not submerged. You could also add a chicken or beef stock instead of water.
Time To Braise:
Cover the pot securely, then place in 300 to 325 degree oven (or stove top on low heat). Cook for as long as it takes for the meat to fall off the bone or easily break apart. Chicken will take considerably less time. Less than an hour. The tougher the cut the longer it will take. Probably, several hours. When the meat is done remove and place on platter ready for carving in slices (except chicken, of course). If you want a thicker sauce, reduce on stove top on low heat.
It's your choice, but make it starchy. We love a good braise with Yorkshire Puddings or popovers. Seasonal herb-coated roasted potatoes make a wonderful starch, too. And have a few oils and balsamics on hand for individual drizzles. We love our spicy varieties: Harissa and Baklouti, a reminder of Mediterranean ancient and modern culture.
Note: Our approach was inspired by Kitchn.com.