Braising: Method and Recipes
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Braising is a way of cooking meat, fish, seafood or vegetables by first searing the item in hot fat, and then simmering it, covered, in liquid to finish. Braising differs from stewing in that the item to be cooked is usually in large pieces, as opposed to smaller pieces for stews. Also, the amount of liquid used in braising is less than for stewing, normally barely covering half of the item to be braised.
Braising is a good way to cook the tougher cuts of meat such as shank, shoulder and round. Long, slow simmering breaks down the connective tissue in the meat and renders a dish tender with a full-bodied sauce. The dish Americans call pot roast is actually a braise. However delicate foods such as fish and seafood can also be braised. Cooking time is simply shorter.
The liquid used as a braising medium is usually water or stock, but wine, beer or tomatoes are sometimes used. And other ingredients such and onions, carrots, or potatoes are often added to impart different flavors.