Remember visiting grandma’s house and walking into a kitchen overflowing with the most luscious smells you’ve ever encountered? There was always a large pot on the stovetop simmering away. And when that pot was opened at dinnertime, you found yourself face to face with a plate of the most tasty meats and vegetables you’ve ever eaten. Nobody could cook like grandma!
Not to diminish your childhood memories, but you can now cook every bit as good as grandma. Chances are, in that stovetop pot, grandma was braising. Braising is a method of cooking meats and vegetables. It is especially effective for tougher, cheaper cuts of meat such as shanks, briskets and rumps. This is a primary technique taught in culinary school. Braising is not only great for home cooked meals, it is also a method for gourmet preparations straight from New York or Hollywood. Cooking school graduates have developed some wonderful variations to the meats, liquids, vegetables and spices included in braising to create some truly elegant meals.
Regardless of what you include in your pot, one thing is certain. Because braising involves cooking in liquid for longer periods of time, your house is sure to be filled with the most delightful aromas, and your meat will be fork-tender… just like grandma’s.
In culinary arts school, professional chefs learn to start the braising process by searing the meat in hot oil. The reason for this is twofold. First, searing seals the meat (trapping the juices inside) so the meat doesn’t become dry when cooked. Second, searing your meat before braising brings out a lot of flavor. The caramelization of the meat on the bottom of the pan gives an extra layer of rich essence to the recipe.
Once the meat has seared and is browned on all sides, remove it … [Read More]