Braising is a form of moist-heat cooking that breaks down connective tissues in tough cuts of meat, leaving them tender and succulent. In some cases, the meats are first seared in a pan and then transferred to a pot to be cooked covered on low heat for extended periods of time. In other cases, the items can be placed directly in the pot and covered for cooking. In both methods, the results are fall-off-the-bone meats and vegetables with great texture and flavor.
Braising is a great and effortless way of cooking. We gather some of our favorite recipes for you to try this technique and enjoy a beautiful dinner.
01 of 10
Despite its name, beef pot roast might be the defining braised meat dish: tender, moist, and flavorful. Beef pot roast is the quintessential dish to try when learning about this technique. Both hearty and succulent, it satisfies and comforts: mirepoix, herbs, butter, broth, and a large brisket or beef chuck is all that you need. Sear your meat and place it in the dutch oven to cook and tenderize.
You need to plan ahead and have the time, at least 5 hours, to supervise the cooking, even if you're not on top of the stove. We provided the crockpot version too if you need to make a dish but can't pay attention to the oven.
02 of 10
This classic osso buco recipe is made by braising veal shanks. Osso buco, the term for "hollow bone" in Italian, is a tough cut of veal with plenty of connective tissue, so the slow cooking method helps to break them apart, leaving the meat juicy and tender. There's plenty of flavor from the wine, mirepoix, tomatoes, vegetables, broth, and herbs that cook with it.
After searing the veal you need to reduce the liquids and then transfer to the oven for up to 2 hours. Traditionally garnished with gremolata and served over risotto, polenta or mashed potatoes, this classic Italian dish should be up on your list for an unforgettable family dinner.
03 of 10
Braising chicken gives you not only a tasty meal, but is also a good way of ending up with a delicious chicken broth that you can use to cook other chickens, risottos, or as a soup base. For our braised chicken, we use a whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces, plus the backbone for flavor. Bacon fat and bacon pieces add an extra layer of fatty, earthy flavors and leeks and onions give a sweet kick.
After searing the meat, you transfer the pot to the oven for 1 hour. This quick recipe is convenient for a weeknight dinner. While the chicken cooks, you can make rice and salad for a healthy, hearty meal, or use the same oven and time to bake some potatoes and roast some veggies.
04 of 10
Braising is one of the most delicious ways of eating ribs, but plan ahead because you need time. Although the preparation and cooking only take 4 hours, the secret of this dish is to cool off the meat once it's done, refrigerate it overnight, and then heat it up again the next day over low heat. This process intensifies the meat flavors and helps the vegetables release more sugar. The flavor of overnight meat is unbelievable. You don't have to go through this extra step but if you can, do it.
This heavenly recipe goes extremely well with creamy polenta.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Oxtail is an odd cut of meat, full of cartilage and thick at one end while skinny at the other. Braising it breaks down the toughness of the cartilage and leaves tender and juicy pieces of meat – and a delicious amount of pan drippings from the gelatin it releases while cooking, perfect for making a tasty sauce.
Beef stock, herbs, spices, and tomato paste add flavor to the meat, while some beef broth and oil provide the flavorful cooking liquids for the meat to braise in. You need close to 4 hours to prep and cook this cut of meat. Serve it with risotto, a potato gratin, or pasta.
06 of 10
For these incredible braised lamb shanks you'll need a large Dutch oven or brazier that's big enough to accommodate the meat and stock, and safe for both stovetop and oven. Lamb is already a tender type of meat but when braised it's unbelievably soft and flavorful.
You need 6 lambs shanks, 1 pound each, and at least 3.5 hours to supervise the cooking in the oven. After searing the meat, you'll make a base with wine, beef broth, veggies, and herbs, so the shanks can sit in it while in the oven. Once the meat is done, make a roux with the pan drippings as per our instructions and end up with a silky and unctuous sauce for your lamb.
07 of 10
Pork shoulder is an excellent cut of meat to braise. The long cooking time will leave the meat tender and juicy, while the vegetables and pineapple juice that we use for braising impart tons of marvelous flavor. Leeks, celery, carrots, and fennel add an aromatic base to the cooking liquids of fruit juice, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes.
Sear the meat to provide a flavorful outer layer and then cook the meat for 3 to 4 hours. Once the meat is done, some of the cooking juices can be strained and boiled down to make a simple pineapple-pork sauce. Serve with a spicy potato salad.
08 of 10
Beef chuck is a tough and budget-friendly cut of beef so this recipe is perfect for a large dinner party, just double or triple the amounts. The recipe itself already has potatoes and vegetables, but simple white rice and a salad also complement this hearty dish without overshadowing its delicious flavor.
After browning the meat and adding the vegetables, herbs, seasonings, and potatoes, the mixture cooks for 2 hours in the oven. Because the heat comes from all sides and not just the bottom, the meat will not burn underneath but cook to perfection in the liquid of beef broth, tomato paste, and oil.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Brussels sprouts are little cabbages, which means they can be tough. Braising softens them so that they're nice and tender, but it also leaves them with some crunch and bite, so they're not soggy on your plate.
Our steps guide you through testing the Brussel sprouts until they're cooked but not overdone, and also provides the instructions for a buttery sauce. The recipe uses chicken stock, bacon, and butter, but skip the bacon and use vegetable broth and vegan margarine for a vegetarian-friendly version.
10 of 10
Endives have a sharp and bitter taste when raw, and they're a great addition to salads or a beautiful appetizer when stuffed with creamy matured cheeses. But when braised, endives become soft and sweet, transforming their flavor and texture into something you might want to make over and over again.
Our recipe slowly cooks the endives in butter, water, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. You can either cook them on the stove for 30 minutes or transfer the pot to the oven for 40 minutes. Either way, you'll end up with a tender and sweet side dish that's ideal to serve alongside heavy, fatty meats.