The results of braising are comforting, healthy dishes that retain the nutrients of the ingredients and require little fat. For braising, foods are slowly cooked in a relatively small amount of liquid in a covered pot on top of a stove or in an oven. This is closely related to stewing, although with less liquid and bigger pieces of food, usually.
Large saucepans are ideal for braising. The versatile Dutch oven is my favorite and can be used on top of the stove or in the oven. Contrary to the general rule that healthful foods should be prepared as close to mealtime as possible, braised dishes are oftentimes better when prepared the day before. This waiting period allows the flavors to meld. In addition, when these dishes are refrigerated, any fat forms on the surface allowing easier removal when reheating.
How to Braise
- Start with sturdy cuts of meat and season them well.
- Brown on all sides and transfer to a plate.
- Add aromatics, such as onion and celery, and cook them according to the recipes instructions.
- Return meat to the pan, pour in the liquid and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pan and cook over low heat.