How to Braise Meats: A Step-by-Step Guide
When you braise a tough cut of meat like lamb shanks in a flavorful liquid, you make it fall-off-the-bone tender. We're doing a brown braise, which means the meat is seared and the veggies are browned before the liquid is added.
Step 1: Getting Started
First, season your meat and get your pot nice and hot. Use a heavy-bottomed, deep pot, like a Dutch oven. Add some oil.
2: Sear the Meat
Add the meat and brown or sear it. You want it to be deep dark brown on all sides. Then remove and set aside.
Step 3: Brown the Veggies
Next, add the vegetables to the Dutch oven. You want to brown them up.
Step 4: Deglaze
When the vegetables are nice and soft, deglaze the pan with wine. The acidity of the wine will balance the richness of the meat. Be sure to scrape up all the flavorful brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Step 5: Start Braising
Add the meat back to the pot with the veggies.
Step 6: Add More Liquid
Add stock or water halfway up the meat you're braising and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Once it's simmering, you can add in aromatics. Cover and keep it at a low simmer on the stovetop or in the oven at 350 degrees F.
Step 7: Cook the Meat
Cooking low and slow breaks down the tough meat so it's tender and delicious. Check on it occasionally. The liquid level needs to remain the same, so add more if necessary. It will take about 1 1/2 to 3 hours to become fork-tender. As soon as it's fork-tender, it's done. Cooking any longer will dry out the meat.
Step 8: Ready to Eat
With braising, just a little effort yields amazing results.