Braising Made Easy
An example of a braised meal.
What is Braising?
Braising is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavor. Braising of meat is often referred to as pot roasting, though some chefs make a distinction between the two methods based on whether additional liquid is added.
Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to break down the tough connective tissue collagen in meat, making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Many classic braised dishes such as coq au vin are highly evolved methods of cooking tough and otherwise unpalatable foods. Pressure cooking and slow cooking (crockpots) are forms of braising.
A successful braiseing mixes the flavors of the foods being cooked and the cooking liquid. This cooking method dissolves collagen from the meat into gelatin, to enrich and add body to the liquid. Braising is economical, as it allows the use of tough cuts of primarily beef, although any tough cut can be successfully prepared this wa,y and is efficient, as it often employs a single pot to cook an entire meal.
Familiar braised dishes include pot roast, beef stew, Swiss steak, chicken cacciatore, goulash, Beef Short Ribs, and coq au vin.