How To Braise
If you’ve never tried braising before, it’s an excellent option for turning tougher cuts of meat into tender, fall-off-the-bone meals packed with flavor. We’re a whole-animal share, meaning sometimes you get surprise items that present the perfect opportunity to try something new! There are a wide variety of cuts that work well with braising: beef shanks, pork shoulder, any cuts from the beef chuck or round, and many others!
Braising takes a little time, but the steps are simple and can really elevate your dinner plans. Below is a braising method we tested ourselves on a 2 pound beef shank, but you can use these steps for almost anything. It came out amazing, so we wanted to share! The hardest part of braising is enduring the intoxicating smells of simmering garlic and herbs coming from the oven for the full time needed to get everything nice and tender.
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Pat your cut of meat dry with a paper towel to help it brown evenly.
2) Generously salt and pepper the meat, and dice any vegetables you’d like to use in your braise (carrots, celery, onions, and garlic work great).
3) Brown all sides of the meat on medium-heat, then set aside.
4) Add your diced vegetables, plus any spices you want to use, to the empty pot and brown.
5) Once the vegetables are soft, you can slowly add liquid to dislodge those flavor-packed brown bits stuck to the bottom of your dutch oven. This process is called “deglazing” — beef broth, cooking wine, or even water works great (we used a little red wine).
6) Return the meat to the dutch oven, and add liquid (beef broth or water) until the level is halfway up the sides of the meat you are braising. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer. If your recipe calls for aromatics like bay leaves, juniper berries or orange peel, now is the time to add them.
7) Cover your dutch oven with a tight lid and place into your preheated oven. Let cook until fork-tender (anywhere from 1.5 – 3 hours). You can check occasionally to test tenderness and add liquid if the level starts to drop.
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