5 Reasons to Get Braising Now

In the chilly season, simmering your supper using the easy and age-old technique of braising will bring warmth, coziness and fragrance to your kitchen.
By: Guest Blogger
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By Patricia Reilly

In the chilly season, simmering your supper using the easy and age-old technique of braising will bring warmth, coziness and fragrance to your kitchen. This simple, satisfying mode of cooking is perfect for the holidays and winter months, when hibernating at home allows time for a leisurely back-burner braise, building layers of flavor into fork-tender foods.

1. If you love comfort food, you'll love braising. Think melt-in-your-mouth short ribs (pictured above), osso buco (much simpler than it sounds) and braised pork tacos. This is food that warms the soul while at the same time offering the terrific texture and flavor complexity you might associate with chef-y fare. Bottom line: Make enough for seconds and superior leftovers.

2. Braising is practically foolproof. Braising begins with thoroughly browning the main ingredient in a heavy pot such as a Dutch oven. Don't be deterred by the brown bits and drippings that accumulate in the pan. These are the best kind of "mess," which you'll deglaze with a braising liquid (such as broth or wine) and incorporate into a simmering sauce for your dish. To see this in action, watch this  Braising 101 video.

3. Low and slow is a great way to go, but if you really want to set it and forget it, braise in your slow cooker. Take your time when braising. Unlike flash-in-the-pan summer fare, a braise calls for gentle and gradual cooking to achieve peak flavor and texture. This can be done on the stovetop, in a moderate oven or in a slow cooker.

4. Braising is economical, because inexpensive cuts of meat can work well. Cooking with tenderizing moist heat under a tightly fitted lid is well suited to meats like beef brisket, chicken thighs or pork ribs. Braising helps take the toughness out of robust and flavorful cuts, and your budget will benefit, too.

5. You can even braise fish and vegetables. Braising is not just for meat lovers. For example, braised red cabbage is a classic winter recipe that has inspired several Food Network chefs. Other substantial vegetables and some fish and shellfish will braise well too. Whatever your tastes or menu, braising is a great way to cook up some comfort this winter.

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