Saturday, April 18, 2009

Braising Your Meats

by Nell Stephenson

Are you growing tired of eating pan-seared or roasted meat at dinner? Perhaps you've found that you're not so fond of some of the textures of the less expensive cuts of meat. One great way to fix that is to braise your meat. Braising involves searing the meat at a high temperature, and then completing the cooking process in a covered pot with liquid (I like using a combination of olive oil and vegetable oil that I've sautéed and added some broth to) in the oven.
I recently made a braised meat dish in the evening, let it cool, put it in the fridge for a day and, just like a soup or stew, it was better the next day! All the flavors had a chance to marry and the cut of beef I used (which in it's original, pre-braised state would've been rather tough) was so succulent and delicate that we didn't even need to use steak knives to eat it!
Recipes for braised meats abound. Try following a new one, or play around with the following idea:

* Sear your favorite meat in an oven-safe pot for a few minutes on each side until browned, and set aside.
* In the same pot, sauté chopped carrots, celery, onions and leeks (you'll not need any oil as the fat from the meat will still be in the pan). Add some of your favorite spices and water, and let simmer for thirty minutes. Place the meat back into the pot and then place it in a pre-heated 350 degree oven, after covering with foil and the lid. Let it cook for 2 hours, then remove and cool. When sufficiently cooled, place it in the fridge and plan on serving it the next day with a side of steamed broccoli and a fresh, green salad.
I've purposely left this recipe a bit on the vague side as I'm always one to encourage kitchen-creativity!

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