If you’re looking to master classic French cooking techniques, then you need to know about braising. Along with grilling, flambéing and poaching, braising is a form of cooking doesn’t take much practice but can make a huge difference for any aspiring chef. Braising is a forgiving technique meaning that even novice cooks are capable of making a dish which can be loaded with different flavours. Braising begins with the browning of meat and is useful for creating hearty vegetarian dishes as well. The key to braising is to simply allow all the ingredients a long time to blend. However, here are a few tips which will help you make sure you get the most flavour into your cooking.
- Choose the correct pot
According to some of the world’s top chefs, a great braise relies on low and even transfer of heat. This can be best provided by a Dutch oven. The method of braising originated in primaeval times when the cooks would place a pot which was tightly sealed, underneath slow burning embers. If a Dutch oven isn’t available to you, the same method can be utilised using a pot with a tight lid.
- Be acquainted with your meat
Braising provides the best results with cheap cuts of meat. Avoid choice cutlets and steaks when you’re planning to braise. Instead, select a style of meat which is slightly tougher. Braising liquid along with the meal will provide enough time for the meat to soften up. Also, remember that these cuts of meat deliver quite a lot of flavour into your dish’s gravy or sauce which will add to the overall depth of your recipe.
- Have a little patience
In order to get the most flavour out of your braising, you need to give all your ingredients ample amount of time to be able to blend with each other. Once all the veggies, meat, herbs, aromatics and the various liquids have been added to the pot, ensure you give everything enough time to cook while allowing your sauce to reduce. It’s a great method of preparing meals well in advance since all you need to do is add everything to a pot and let it sit on a burning flame. It can also be prepared up to a couple of days beforehand and be placed in the refrigerator before you have to serve it to your guests. This helps the meat and veggies absorb more of the liquids and juices which, in turn, will guarantee your dish is rich with the numerous flavours.
- Find the correct braising liquid
Many leading chefs point out that even though most veggies and meats are braised in wine or stock, various other liquids such as cider and beer may also be used. Sometimes they can be a better match for the specific flavour profile you’re trying to achieve. Consider getting creative with different braising liquids as you can easily deglaze the pot using water once the dish is complete.
Braising is an easy method of cooking which ensures your food is packed with flavours. Though a slow process, it will provide food which is bound to be loved by anyone and everyone.