Braising Cooking Method

What is Braising in Cooking?

Braising has been a part of our lives long before we started to form sentences. It was a staple in the culinary world for most European families. The word Braising has been derived from a French word called “Braiser” which means to use both the dry as well as moist heats. It is also known as the method of roasting meat.

The first discovery of a braised meat was found in some origins of France and it has become a significant part of the cookbooks in the early 19th century. You may have heard that phrase Goods things come to those who tend to wait, we think that this phrase might be coming from those people who had “the braising cooking method” in their minds. The braising procedure consists of simmering your food in a closed pot with a little amount of liquid after it had been sautéed or slightly fried.

braised beef with carrot, brown sauce and herbs in a semi deep plate

This process does not only tenderize the meat, but it also enhances its flavor. All you have to do is put the pot on the stove and let the stove take on and do all the work. Braising is done to eradicate all the thick and dangerous cuts of the meat and let it melt in your mouth with blasting flavors. Braising is done in three kinds of techniques namely:

  • Browning
  • Deglazing
  • Braising

The first step called the browning consists of cooking the meat in its own fat at a certain temperature specified by the recipe. This will not happen naturally, and you will need to sear the pan before you put your meat into it. The second step consists of scrapping off the leftovers of the meat in the pan after you brown it.

These little scraps will certainly stuff your dish with more flavors than any other thing. The last technique is the braising of the food which happens in the same pot which was used to braise the meat or vegetables. The aromatics of the meats or the vegetables blend with the stock to trigger all the flavors and even those which were never there before. The most famous dish that is cooked by using this method is known as the American Pot Roasting.

Pros and Cons of Eating Braising Foods

Braising holds in a significant position in the culinary worlds and no cuisine is complete without braising. Still, braising is not all about magnificent taste and deliciousness. It has advantages but it also has various limitations, and these are mentioned below.

Pros of Braising Foods

Here are some advantages of eating braised foods:

  • Braising requires cuts of meat and poultry along with simple ingredients that are all economical. You can get maximum deliciousness in minimum money.
  • Braising does not require a lot of utensils. You will have to take care of a pot and a stove and that is it. The rest of it will be taken over by your stove along with the spices, meat, and vegetables that you use.
  • Braising cooks food slowly which helps all the flavors to seep into your meat or vegetables giving it an extra touch of richness. Therefore, even a prolonged time can be worth your while.
  • Your meat may be cut finely but it will still contain some tough cuts which are smoothened out by the help of this method. Therefore, when you eat braised foods, it melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.
  • In the braising cooking method, you can use as many spices, vegetables, and pieces of meat as you like. Thus, this method provides you with new opportunities to experience different kinds of recipes.

Cons of Braising Foods

  • Apart from chicken, some seafood and vegetables, braising takes a lot of time which can prove to be troublesome for most people who do not have much time around the clock.
  • Braising methods tend to make softer foods that result in a lack of texture. There is no crust or crispness on the meat. But, for what it takes, this kind of texture gets replaced by rich flavors.
  • When meat or vegetables are cooked in a fluid or plain water, the nutrients get leached into the fluid, leaving your dish with no nutrients at all. However, if you are using broth to braise your meat or vegetables, then this will not be much of a problem.

Examples of Braising Foods

Some things are worth the wait and braised foods are one of them. No matter how much time these foods take to get cooked, nothing could be better than a wholesome dish rich with flavors. Below is the list of top ten finger-licking and melt-in-the-mouth braising foods that you can try at home.

  • Braised Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Chestnuts
  • Braised Artichokes with Tomatoes and Mint
  • Braised Brisket with Hot Sauce and Mixed Chiles
  • Sriracha-Braised Brisket Sandwiches 
  • Braised Lamb Shanks with Potatoes and Fennels 
  • Vinegar-Braised Chicken and Onion
  • Braised Lamb Shoulder with Fennel and Orange
  • Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach
  • Butter-Braised Spring Onions with a lot of Chives
  • Braised Turkey Legs
  • Braised crab
Serving of braised crab in a deep white bowl

Braised Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Chestnuts Recipe

The blend of mustard and chestnuts with the braised thighs of chicken balances out the pungent flavor. A single bite can blast all the flavor in the mouth, yet it remains perfectly balanced, leaving the person craving for more.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Whole grain mustard, 2 tablespoons
  • Quartered chestnuts, 1 cup (cooked)
  • Boneless Chicken Thighs, 5 skinless pieces of 1 1/4 lb.
  • Freshly ground pepper, according to taste
  • Salt, according to taste
  • Sliced leeks, 2
  • Homemade Chicken Stock, 1 cup
Delicious braised chicken thighs in a white cooking pan, a bowl of rice, and some spices on a table

Procedure:

Start by seasoning your chicken with some salt and pepper according to your taste. Put the oil in a skillet and heat it at medium-high flame. Cook the chicken from all the sides for about 5 minutes till it gets browned then take it out and let it rest on the plate.

Reduce the flame under the skillet to medium and then add leeks to it after seasoning them with salt and pepper as well. Cook the leeks into the skillet till they are soft. This may take up to 5 minutes totes. Now, add two tablespoons of stock into the skillet and try to scrape as many bits from the bottom as you can.

After this, add the quartered chestnuts into the skillet and stir all the ingredients together for a couple of minutes. Add all the remaining stock and the chicken into the skillet and let it simmer. Once it starts to simmer, cover the skillet with a lid and bring it to boil. Lower the flame so that the thighs get cooked thoroughly. Let the stock boil for 10 to 15 minutes tops.

Once it is cooked, stir the mustard into the stock but keep the flame low after stirring to avoid breakage of the sauce in the skillet. Season the braised chicken with salt and pepper and enjoy the deliciousness. You can save some of the thigh pieces for lunch tomorrow.

Evolution of Braising Tools

Braising is simple simmering of meats and vegetables on a low flame and that can happen in any pot skillet that is present. When braising first came into being, the European families made use of skillets or pots. However, the main change may have been in the quality of these pots along with ovens. But the shapes of these tools have always been the same and we think that these shapes will remain the same for a long.

As mentioned earlier, the braising cooking method is the slow cooking of meats and vegetables and thus, not a lot of tools are used for this purpose. In the 19th century, people used various kinds of pots and in the 21st century, people are still doing the same. However, the use of spices and ingredients may have gone better between these times.

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