Deutsch: Schmoren / Español: Estofado / Português: Refogar / Français: Braisage / Italiano: Brasatura

Braising is a cooking method that involves two key steps: searing food at a high temperature and then cooking it slowly in liquid at a lower temperature. This technique is particularly suitable for tougher cuts of meat and hearty vegetables, as the slow cooking process helps to tenderize the ingredients and enhance their flavors.

Description

The braising process typically begins with searing the main ingredient (often meat) in a hot, oiled pan to develop a flavorful crust. After searing, the ingredient is placed in a pot with a small amount of cooking liquid—such as broth, wine, or water—along with various flavorings like herbs and spices. The dish is then covered and cooked over low heat (or in an oven) for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld and the meat or vegetables to become exceptionally tender.

Application Areas

Braising is commonly used in a variety of cuisines and dishes:

  • Meats: Tougher cuts like beef brisket, pork shoulder, and lamb shanks are often braised to break down connective tissues and tenderize the meat.
  • Vegetables: Dense vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and celery are typically added to braises to absorb the flavors and complement the main ingredient.
  • Global Dishes: Many well-known dishes from around the world utilize braising, including French coq au vin, Italian osso buco, and Chinese red-cooked pork.

Well-Known Examples

Some classic dishes that involve braising include:

  • Beef Bourguignon: A French dish featuring beef braised in red wine, often with mushrooms and onions.
  • Coq au Vin: Another French classic where chicken is braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and sometimes garlic.
  • Pot Roast: A staple in American cuisine, typically involving a large piece of beef that is braised with vegetables in a rich broth.

Treatment and Risks

Braising is a generally safe cooking method that can contribute to a healthy diet:

  • Nutrient Retention: Slow cooking in liquid helps to retain the nutritional content of foods, particularly water-soluble vitamins that are lost during boiling.
  • Reduced Fat: Braising allows fat from meat to render out into the braising liquid, which can be skimmed off to reduce fat intake.

Recipes

Here’s a simple recipe for a basic braised dish:

  • Simple Braised Beef:
    • Ingredients: 2 lbs beef chuck roast, salt, pepper, 1 onion (chopped), 2 carrots (chopped), 2 stalks celery (chopped), 3 cups beef broth, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp thyme.
    • Method: Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan until browned on all sides. Transfer to a pot and add vegetables, broth, tomato paste, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender.

Similar Terms

  • Slow cooking
  • Stewing
  • Pot roasting
  • Casserole cooking
  • Moist heat cooking

Summary

Braising is a cooking technique that combines high-heat searing with slow, low-heat cooking in liquid, making it ideal for softening tough meats and infusing flavors. It is a favored method in various cuisines for creating dishes that are rich in taste and tender in texture.

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