What Is Braising in Cooking?

Lamb Shank Cooked in Wine & Herb Sauce

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To feed your family while filling the house with delicious smells and watching your budget, try braising. Preparing food with this cooking method can take hours, but little of it is hands-on time. And because braising is ideal for tough cuts of meat, you can pass by pricey filets and buy your butcher’s more affordable cuts. Best of all, braising is pretty foolproof. As long as you can sear and simmer, you can braise.

The Braising Basics

Braising is a two-step cooking process; first cook the food over dry heat, then finish it in liquid. To braise a piece of meat, start by browning it on all sides. Transfer the meat to a stock pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Pour in enough liquid to partially submerge the meat and add other seasonings such as chopped carrot, onion, herbs or even dried fruit, and simmer the covered dish over low heat until a meat thermometer tells you the dish has reached a safe internal temperature. This second step may also be done in the oven. Hearty vegetables can also be braised, either on their own or in addition to meat. Braising recipes typically call for stock or broth, though you’ll get deeper flavor by adding wine, hard cider or juice. When the dish is done, thicken the remaining liquid by adding a mixture of melted butter and flour and reducing it into a sauce.