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Braising is a hybrid method of cooking that uses both dry heat and moist heat methods to make perfectly cooked meat in a delicious sauce. This method of cooking works particularly well for chewy and tough cuts of meat. Today, we’re going to share our “five s’s” of braising: select, season, sear, stew, and serve. Read these tips and make a delicious braised meal!

First, select an appropriate piece of meat. Look for cuts that are chewier and have lots of fat and connective tissue. These cuts will be transformed by braising. Dark meat chicken is also a good meat to braise, but lean white meats are not. Some cuts that are classic braising dishes include beef short ribs, pork country style ribs and chicken thighs. Selecting a good piece of meat is the start to a great braised dish!

Second, season your meat. A good braise needs well-seasoned meat. Salt and pepper on your meat are a must. Then, add other seasonings that are appropriate for the recipe you’re making. For braised beef short ribs, for instance, fresh herbs are essential to add aromatics to the sauce. Each recipe will be different, but you’ll always want to make sure you use well-seasoned meat in your recipe.

The third step is to sear your meat. Heat oil in a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven to medium high heat, then place your meat into the cooking vessel. Cook the meat until it is browned on all sides and there are lots of drippings (technically called fond) in the pot. You’ll generally need to cook for at least three minutes per side. Once your meat is seared, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Now that we’ve seared our meat, it’s time to first add our aromatic vegetables and sauté them. Cooking these vegetables until they’re soft will help bring out the flavor and texture we want and minimize what we don’t want.

After sautéing our meat and vegetables, it’s time to stew. Add the meat back to the pan and pour in your braising liquid until the food is partially submerged. Broth, wine, beer or a mixture are all great braising liquids. Adding more liquid will result in a runnier sauce, and less liquid makes a more concentrated sauce. Once the liquid is added, it’s also time to add root vegetables and fresh herbs. We then bring the entire mixture to a simmer, cover the pot and pop the entire mixture into the oven to roast until it’s done cooking.

Finally, it’s time to serve! Once our meat is done and veggies soft, we have a delicious braised dish. If you’ve made root vegetables in your braise, you can put them down first on the plate, and top with meat and the other vegetables. If you didn’t make root vegeatbles, serve the braised meat and vegetables over your favorite starch. Be sure to pour a generous amount of the sauce that’s left in the pot over the meal. After searing and stewing, it’s full of rich flavor. I always like to have bread with a braised meal as well – just to sop up all the left-over sauce!

There are our “five s’s” of braising – select, season, sear, stew and serve. Get braising and enjoy a hearty, flavorful dinner tonight! Do you have more questions? Stop by the store to ask, or drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help. See you soon at Lake Geneva Country Meats!

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