Braising is a technique used for cooking tough meat cuts. The moist heat cooking works well in softening meat cuts with harder connective tissues. Braising is used to rustle up a bevy of exotic recipes including the Italian Osso Buco, the braised veal shanks. It is particularly effective for meat cuts such as the Beef flank, Beef round, chuck, brisket, shank, the short ribs or plate. The process is simple. The time the recipe takes varies from an hour to a maximum of five hours. The duration is proportional to the quantity of the meat. The simple steps as mentioned below help you serve a savory, piping hot meat dish.
1. Opt for a suitable variety of meat and prepare it for the braising process. Remove the excess fat. Dry out the moisture with paper to get better results. Bring the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit while you prepare the braising liquid.
2. Stir the meat for two minutes in hot oil. Use a braising dish meant for use in the oven for the purpose. Keep the brown meat aside and prepare the liquid for braising.
3. Chop and add onions to the dish. Turn the flame low. Crushed garlic is optional. It brings its peculiar taste to the braising liquid. Chopped celery, carrots and leeks are also perfect for the recipe. Soften the vegetables over a low flame. These take just a few minutes to sautÃ©.
4. Choose a suitable agent for deglazing. Stir and bring the liquid to simmer. If wine is used it serves the dual purpose of a deglazing agent as well as an acidic agent to turn the meat tender. Broth or stock too work well for the recipe. If wine is not added, add tomatoes as the acidic ingredient. It is optional otherwise. The flavor of the tomatoes accentuates the taste of the braising liquid. If the liquid for braising is given the due attention the end result is bound to be good.
5. Add meat and tomatoes to the simmering braising liquid. Use bay leaves and peppercorns for seasoning.
6. Cover the cooking vessel with a tight lid and place in the preheated oven. The use of oven is preferable. The indirect heat keeps the liquid simmering but does not take it to boil. When using a stove in place of the oven, ensure that the meat is allowed to cook in simmering heat. The flame of the stove should not bring the liquid to boil.
7. The duration for braising depends on the quantity of meat. For a pound of meat an hour of braising is enough to make the meat tender. Remove the dish from the oven accordingly. To keep for later use, allow it to cool. Store with the braising liquid. Removing the meat from braising liquid for freezing dries it out.
8. To serve, prepare a gravy with roux and the braising liquid. Prepare roux with clarified butter and all purpose flour taken in equal quantities by weight. Heat the clarified butter in a pan. Add the all purpose flour and stir. Once it thickens, add the braising liquid as per requirement. Allow it to simmer. Serve the cooked meat in the gravy after seasoning.