Tasty Braising Recipes To Make At Home
by HexClad Cookware
The art of braising goes back to 18th-century French cuisine. Today, we know it as the best way to make tender and flavorful meats at home.
Once you start braising, it’s hard to stop. We’re sure you’ll want to make every braising recipe out there, so we’ve cooked up a few of our favorites for you to try. With long hands-off cook times and short prep times, you’ll get a meal that tastes amazing and was put together in a snap.
Get those napkins handy: These recipes will have you drooling in no time.
What Is Braising?
Literally speaking, braise means “live coals.” Back in the day, this referred to the way covered pots were placed on a bed of hot coals (then covered with even more coals) to cook foods.
More recently, the term braising became synonymous with dishes involving slow-cooked meats. These meats are known for their pull-apart texture and deep, savory flavors.
Honestly, you can braise anything you set your heart to — meats and veggies alike. If you’ve ever heard the term “low and slow,” this is what they meant.
What Can I Braise?
Like we said, braising applies to anything cooked at a low temperature for a long time.
However, the most traditional braising recipes call for tougher meats and stronger vegetables that benefit from this slower cooking process.
For example, a pot roast needs to cook for a while to have that soft, shredded texture, whereas a rib-eye can be grilled for a matter of minutes before it’s ready to serve. That’s not saying you can’t braise a rib-eye — there are just better options out there.
How Long Should I Braise Meats and Veggies?
You’ll want to adjust cooking times based on the ingredients you use.
For stronger, tougher meats, expect to braise for at least two to three hours. For vegetables, start with one to two hours. You’ll know it’s done when you have a fork-tender meat or veg.
It may require a bit of trial and error, but it’s definitely a delicious process.
What Cookware Do I Need?
Any cookware for braising needs to follow two basic rules:
- The pot needs to be large and deep enough to immerse your ingredients in braising.
- Your pot needs a tight-fitted lid to go with it.
Part of the braising process requires a pot that can hold the heat at an even temperature. This won’t be possible without a lid fitted tightly to the pot.
Large pots, dutch ovens or casserole dishes, and slow-cookers are the most traditional devices used for braising.
We recommend the HexClad Hybrid 8 QT Pot With Lid. It’s designed to keep an even temperature and designed for the oven. This bad boy withstands heat up to 500 degrees, which is more than sufficient for a braising recipe.
If you prefer to use a slow-cooker, you will need a pan that will perfectly sear your food before it gets added to the pot.
In this case, we suggest the 12” HexClad Hybrid Pan. The handle stays cool while you sear food at high heat. Plus, it’s deep enough for a large protein, like pork shoulder or a lamb shank.
What Braising Liquids Are Best?
While there are plenty of ways to braise, there’s one thing you can’t leave out: the braising liquid.
Different recipes and cuisines call for different braising liquids. The most common liquids for braising include:
- Vegetable stock
- Chicken stock
- Beef stock
- Red wine
- White wine
- Red wine vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
While each liquid imparts a unique flavor profile, the result is fall-off-the-bone (or stem) texture with rich and hearty flavors. The liquid’s main job is to break down the meats and vegetables being braised, leaving them soft and savory.
What Are the Best Meats to Braise?
The tougher the meat, the better to braise. Here are a few of our favorite carnivorous recipes.
Beef short ribs are thick, hearty, and full of delicious fats — but you won’t be able to melt that fat down without a thorough braising process.
Red wine makes a great braising liquid for short ribs. Plus, the braising liquid will make a delicious gravy when you’re ready to serve. Here’s what you’ll do:
Make a mirepoix (chopped celery, carrots, and onion), and saute them in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. You’ll want to trim some fat around the short ribs with a sharp chef’s knife.
Season the short ribs, then sear. This will caramelize the outside of the meat and lock in the natural moisture to keep it juicy and tender.
Before serving, ladle off the residual fats by skimming them off the top with a ladle or deep-set spoon. Then use the reserved braising liquids as a gravy or sauce.
This recipe works for any braised beef. You could serve the meat with mashed potatoes and carrots, or any combination of starch and veg that your family prefers.
Seasonings are to your liking, but the most popular include: rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, and parsley.
Lamb shanks are large pieces of tough meat on a large bone. You’ll need your biggest and deepest pan or pot for cooking these bad boys.
These meats work well with a wine-based braise, but they can also benefit from a beer or stock. Shanks take the longest time to braise, so time your meals appropriately.
Fresh garlic cloves, large cuts of celery, and carrots along in braising liquid are not only perfect for imparting flavor but also for garnishes when serving.
The most common cuts of pork to braise are pork shoulder and pork belly. Both are thick, tough meats that have tons of flavor when cooked correctly.
For pork shoulder, expect some of the most succulent, shredded pork you will ever experience. This is perfect for tacos or a hearty burrito.
Pork shoulder does better with a vegetable stock or even water. It takes in a lot of flavor from BBQ sauces or salsa added after cooking.
If you’re cooking pork belly, score the skin before searing and give it ample time to crisp and caramelize. We recommend searing in small batches to ensure the pork belly cuts don’t get crowded.
Pork belly works really well with a little apple cider vinegar added to the braise.
There are also quite a few vegetables that can be seared and will benefit a lot from slow cooking. We highly recommend trying your hand at these veggies:
- Halved bulbs fennel
- Garlic cloves
- Carrots, parsnips, or your other favorite root vegetables
- Collard greens, with diced bacon or ham hocks
- Dried beans,
If you’re braising the vegetables individually, use a vegetable stock and add ample seasoning. However, if you’re throwing in the veggies with meats as an additive, whatever braising process you were already considering should be perfect.
Time To Eat!
We are confident these braising recipe basics (made with our innovative kitchen essentials) are the perfect options for braised meats every night of the week.
Weeknight meals should be delicious and easy — we don’t have a lot of time in between homework, work, or sporting activities with the family, and we bet you don’t, either. That’s why braising recipes are so awesome for weeknight menus, lazy Sundays, or any day you want to relax in front of the TV with a giant plate of meat.