Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Braising

on August 22, 2012

I love braising. It’s simple, easy and  I can walk away and ignore it once the dish is started. The idea of using a slow cooker is really based on braising. Braising is simply the process of searing a piece of meat and then simmering it in liquid over low heat in a covered pot.

The other day I made Filipino Pork Adobo and had some pork shoulder left over. Today I took that piece of pork, (got lazy and skipped the searing) put it in an oven proof pot, poured in about half a bottle of white wine, seasoned it with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. I put the lid on the pot, put in it the oven at 225F and ignored it for about 7 hours.

As you can see from the picture, the meat is moist and falling apart tender. This process works best with tough cuts of meat such as beef chuck roast or pork shoulder. The long slow cooking process breaks down the tough connective tissues that can make the meat chewy in other cooking processes. The connective tissues also become glutinous as the gelatin in the tissues breaks down. What was formerly gristle has become a luscious, unctuous delight.  You can also use any kind of liquid such as milk, water, wine, fruit juice or other liquid flavors depending on your mood.

Now that I’ve shared my love of braising I should mention, this does NOT work well with a lean cut of meat. Without the heavy fat streaking you get in a chuck roast or pork shoulder, the meat becomes dry and icky. Lean cuts of meat are much better off cooked quickly to medium-rare/rare.

 

Jene also brought me another pork shoulder which I think I’ll use to make carnitas. Carnitas is another dish that uses braising as part of the cooking technique. Take the time to play with the flavors, it’s worth it.

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