There is something so wonderful and comforting about braised food, in particular braised meats. Recently we went out for dinner to a local French restaurant. Almost all of us at the table had some sort of braised meat dish. It was like some sort of “festival de boeuf”, as everyone had some sort of beef dish, certainly not a table fit for any die-hard vegetarians (sorry)!
The funny thing about braised meats is that everyone seems to think that they cook by some sort of magic, or that perhaps the chef is somehow some sort of magician. The thing is though, braised dishes are some of the easiest dishes to make…and really there is little magic involved. It is just about knowing a few simple things, like – what is the right cut of meat to use, what temperature do you cook it at, how much liquid do you use, what kind of liquid do you use? Once you learn these few things, you can braise with your eyes closed…well, at least without a recipe.
Awhile back I made this Braised Short Rib Ragu that was quite yummy. It really only took me about 30 minutes to whip together and then it cooked for a few hours while I did something else (I actually went to a Yoga class while it was cooking and, of course, I thought about it the whole time). This is another reason why I loved braised dishes – they literally cook themselves while you go about your day. Sure you have to get them ready and then finish them off, but the pay off is so worth the little effort. It sure beats take-out any day.
What’s your favorite braised dish? Feel free to share. We would love to hear from you.
Cheers – dawn
p.s. to learn more about braising check out our Braising Lesson in the Rouxbe Cooking School.