Braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques - it's part roasting and part stewing and it can turn the toughest imaginable cut of meat into something a toothless hillbilly could eat. Essentially, you take piece of meat like a pork shoulder, lamb shank, or beef chuck roast (all cheap cuts) - muscles that work hard (tough), run in multiple directions (tough), and are packed with connective tissue (tough) - and cook them with some liquid in an enclosed pot with low heat. The liquid and slow cooking turn these tough cuts into tender, juicy, richly flavored meals.
BraisingOne distinguishing characteristic of braising is that it incorporates both wet and dry heat. Typically you use a large chunk of meat that is only partially covered with liquid. The uncovered portion browns intensifying the flavor while the submerged portion stews - then you turn it over. Aside from the use of large cuts of meat, braising is similar to stewing. You can learn more about soups, stews and braises in this tip. Although I prefer my Dutch oven for braising, a slow cooker works just fine.
Beef Carbonade is a strange name for this dish. First, carbonnade is a Spanish word but the dish comes from Belgium. Second, the words means "grilled" or "cooked over coals," but in fact the dish is actually braised. However strange the name, it's a great weekend meal, easy to make, but requiring long slow cooking in Belgium's signature beverage, beer. It can also be made in a slow cooker if you don't have a Dutch oven.
My Citrus-marinated Braised Pork is inspired by Caribbean recipes. Although it requires advance planning in order to marinate it and cook it slowly, it couldn't be much easier to make. I like using a Dutch oven, but a Crockpot should work as well - although you probably need to cook it a couple of hours longer.
Braciole is one of those recipes that I'd been meaning to try for years, but had just never gotten around to until I ran across a restaurant review raving about Braciole - then I had to try it. And now I get it. This is one of the best things I've ever eaten - rich and deeply flavored with wonderful fresh notes from the herbs, it's a perfect winter meal.
Deceptively simple, this recipe for milk-braised pork chops surprises with it's rich complex flavors. It is best made using a pork butt roast, but unless I want leftovers (and the leftovers are delicious) or I don't have time to use a roast I use a couple of pork loin chops. The results aren't as fall-apart tender as they are using a butt roast, but the flavor is as good.
Slowly braised lamb shanks are almost impossible to beat on a cold wintry day. Savory and richly-flavored, this dish will almost make you glad the weather is bad. And although there's some prep up front, most of the cooking process is trying to ignore the marvelous odors that permeate your home, treading softly on cat feet into each corner until your stomach is grumbling and rumbling with hunger. A little snack about halfway through the cooking might be a good idea.
Corned beef and cabbage is one of my absolute favorite one-pot meals. I learned to make it from my mother and she always made it on the stove top. But about 15 years ago a friend suggested making it in the oven in a Dutch oven and I discovered the more gentle and indrect heat of the oven produced a more tender and richer result. A slow-cooker is also a good option.
I'm not sure what prompted this Mexican Pot Roast. Although I like Mexican food very much, I don’t make it very often, but as I was trying to decide how to cook a chuck roast I'd bought this recipe leapt to mind and, in my mind's mouth, it tasted absolutely delicious. So of course I had to make it. I also decided to steal a couple of licks from other Mexican/Southwestern dishes and shredded the beef before serving it on corn tortillas.