Back to Basics: Steps to Braising

Braising consist of three important parts: browning or frying of foods that yield amazing color.  Not limited to meats and poultry, I’ve read recipes explaining steps to achieve perfectly braised fruit and vegetables.  The second step, slow cooking food in a covered vessels with liquid, most times with an assortment of vegetables and aromatic herbs.  Thirdly, the straining, seasoning and thickening of the braising liquid occurs once the food is fall-off-the-bone tender.

Let me walk you through to the first step – browning.

The below pictures shows how I started braising an amazing Coconut Milk Braised Short Ribs I made weeks ago.

Prep
After cleaning and portioning the short ribs, I seasoned generously with salt and cracked black pepper.  I know Caribbean ladies and gentlemen are turning up their noses with this one. LoL I don’t used any green seasoning because I don’t want the particles to burn and create bitter fond.

For red meat, I season all sides well with salt and pepper.  I season under the skins of poultry with the salt and pepper as well.

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Organization
Using a sensibly sized heavy bottom sauté pan.  I browned the seasoned short ribs in batches not to overcrowd the pan.  A sheet pan and cooling rack is used to place meat on once I’ve achieved the desired color.  A pair of tongs is ideal to turn meat.

I always keep raw meat and cooked or seared meat separately.

Cooking
High heat!  With enough fat to coat the pan.  I place the seasoned meat in the hot pan and listen to loud sizzling music it creates.  Browning all sides I’m not too quick to turn it either, allowing the meat to cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Adding more fat to the pan if need be.

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Choose fats that have a high smoke point like vegetable, soybean, corn or canola oil.

Deglaze
Once the pieces of meat have been brown I’m left with a pan with golden brown bits left.  I need that!!  Those brown bits holds lots of good meaty flavor.  To deglaze is to use cold liquid to raise the fond or brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  I used dark rum because of the flavor I was going for.  You can use from rum to wine and even water.

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From this point you are well on your way to the second steps of braising!  I’ll be posting more about braising, but I would so love to hear of your braising stories and what techniques make your single life cooking easiest!

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