Braising Meats

Courtesy of Chef Mary Talaber

The braising method is a combination of searing or browning and then simmering. This cooking technique uses moist heat for less tender cuts of meat which require long slow cooking. Like: chuck steaks, shank, short ribs, flanks, round and rump roast.

Several factors affect the quality of the finished product.

1st: Seasoning
Marinating the meat for hours or even days is the best way to season, because the seasonings have time to penetrate the meat.

2nd: Browning
Dry the meat completely beforehand, then use high heat for browning. Red meat browns well, while white meat browns less deeply and must be browned to a golden color.

3rd: Braising liquid
The braising liquid depends on the time of preparation and the amount of sauce needed for serving. Using more liquid then is necessary will reduce the flavor, richness and thickness of your sauce. Know how much sauce you need to serve per person (2-3 ounce or more) then adjust the liquid as needed. Choosing the braising pot is important, as the liquid should cover the meat at least 1/3 of the the way.

Some meats are braised with no liquid added. They are browned then covered and cook in their own moisture.

Now that we have coved the basic principals of braising, let’s get cooking.

Choose the meat and cuts of your liking. Cut and trim the meat. Melt butter or heat oil in a heavy skillet, brown the meat on all sides then remove. Add cut or diced vegetables, herbs an spices and sate in the left over butter or oil in the skillet. Then add liquid and seasonings and bring to a simmer. Place browned meat in a braising pan and add simmering skillet ingredients. Then cover the braising post tightly and simmer in the oven until meat is tender.

Set oven temperature between 250° and 300°. Note: ovens vary in temperatures. Check and make sure the meat is simmering, not boiling.

When the meat is done, remove from pan and set aside and keep warm. Now let’s make the sauce.

Skim fat from the surface, prepare a brown roux from the skimmed fat, or other fat of your choice. Simmer liquid, add roux a little at a time so you do not over thicken the sauce. Simmer until the roux is cooked and the sauce reaches the thickness of your liking. Strain and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Slice or leave the meat while and complement with your sauce.

Brown Roux

It is very simple: add the same amounts of butter and flour, such as 1/2 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup of flour.

Melt butter using a wire whisk, add flour stirring constantly until flour becomes light brown. This amount of roux will thicken approximately 3 cups of stock.