Food editor Kristen Eppich shares her best braising tips and tricks.
- Sear the meat long enough to get a deep brown color. Going further than the golden stage creates the best flavors.
- Pick a pot in which your meat can rest on the vegetables in a snug single layer — not on top of each other.
- Always season the meat before you sear, but don’t overseason the sauce. A better time to add salt and pepper to the sauce is close to the end, after you have reduced and tasted it.
- Place a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface of your meat to reduce the amount of moisture lost during the braising. This is particularly important if your pot doesn’t have a heavy-gauge lid.
- Select tougher cuts of meat that will benefit from a long cooking time. These include pork shoulder, shanks, short ribs, stewing beef, brisket and chicken thighs.
- Braise in a preheated oven. Although stovetop braising can be effective, the heat will be uneven because the only source is from below the pot. Braising in a preheated oven means that heat will penetrate the pot from all sides and cook evenly.
- Always remove the lid and parchment for the last 15 to 30 minutes of braising. This helps brown the meat and reduce the sauce.
- Let meat come to room temperature before refrigerating if you’re making the meal ahead. Refrigerate overnight, then the next day, skim the fat off the top and reheat the meal on the stovetop. Once it’s hot, remove meat and reduce sauce as needed.
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