Growing up as a Jew in Puerto Rico, I never realized that Jewish food was a cuisine driven by economy. As it turns out, the genius of our great grandmothers in Russia and Europe lay in taking extremely cheap and undesirable cuts of meat and transforming them into hearty and deeply satisfying dishes. Using this moist and slow-cooking Braising technique, delicacies such as Brisket evolved.
Thanks to Braising, today we enjoy (both kosher and non-kosher!)delights such as Beef Stew, Short Ribs and Pork Shoulder.
Braising involves browning an ingredient and then cooking it in a small amount of liquid, covered over low heat to slow cook.
- Best for tougher cuts of meat and other proteins
- Also used for vegetables
- Season with salt and pepper (if possible, store in fridge overnight)
- Bring meat to room temperature
- Dry it thoroughly to help produce a nice brown crust
- If using a large piece, tie the meat to ensure even cooking and help it retain its shape
- Sear the piece by browning the exterior in a hot pan on the stove
- Add aromatics (i.e. onion, carrot, celery, etc…)
- Deglaze the pan and scrape drippings from the bottom of the pan – deglazing is the process of adding a liquid such as wine or stock to a hot pan in order to remove and dissolve the caramelized (and too tasty to waste!) food residue that accumulates at the bottom of a pan
- Add enough liquid (stock, wine, water, etc…) to only submerge 2/3 of the meat
- Cover the pot and finish cooking the meat slowly on a low temperature – use either the oven or the stove
- Decant by separating the meat from the sauce
- Finish the sauce – adjust seasonings and/or consistency
- Glaze the meat with your sauce and serve