Braising is transformative. For generations, cooks of all cultures have turned to this technique to create scrumptious comfort food from the toughest meats, greens and beans. The beauty is not only in what it can create, but also in what it gives you: in most of the recipes below, most of the cooking time is hands-off. Just sear, simmer, and walk away from the kitchen until the irresistible aromas call you back.
Sundays are all about cleaning, resting, braising, and this recipe from Ali Slagle—a red, garlicky sauce, filled with beef and pork of varying textures—takes all of that into consideration. It chirps on the stove, filling your home with intoxicating smells capable of driving away even the most stubborn of Sunday creeps.
Kay Chun treats mushrooms, squash and root vegetables from a garden like spare ribs in this dish inspired by Korean kalbi jjim. Vegetables soften and soften as they simmer, and baking them in the oven rather than on the stovetop ensures they don’t receive too much direct heat, keeping them mostly intact, but still supple.
Recipe: Soy Braised Vegetable Jjim (Korean Vegetable Stew)
“Eintopf,” meaning “one pot” in German, is less a category of dishes than a philosophy, and there are as many versions of the hearty stew as there are admirers. This Yewande Komolafe recipe features a heady combination of beef and root vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Consider this a petition to replace the phrase “age like a fine wine” with “age like a fine eintopf,” because this delicious one-pot meal only gets better when it sits down.
Recipe: Eintopf (Braised short ribs with fennel, squash and sweet potato)
This rich ember from Ali Slagle deserves to be lovingly tucked into a bed of creamy polenta right out of the oven. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare the starch you plan to pair it with, as the chilli-spiced pork shoulder needs a good three hours to meld into the basil-garlic-seasoned tomato base. .
Not all braises take a lot of time: this recipe from Lidey Heuck can be prepared in just half an hour. Canned cannellini beans and hearty greens like Swiss chard and kale mellow and melt into the garlicky broth for a vegetarian meal just waiting to be gulped down with a piece of bread grilled or toasted bread.
Recipe: Braised white and green beans with parmesan
This recipe for Yewande Komolafe relies on two common techniques in Nigerian cuisine: braising meats and using obe ata, a puree of red peppers, onions, tomatoes and habaneros, as the main sauce. The recipe calls for goat meat, but a similar sized bone-in cut of lamb or pork would work incredibly well here.
Recipe: Braised goat leg in Obe Ata
While a rich pot of birria takes time, the possibilities are truly endless once you take it out of the oven. This recipe, which Tejal Rao adapted from chef Josef Centeno, is as delicious served in a bowl with warmed tortillas as it is slipped into tacos with grated cheese, cilantro and white onion, or used as the base for a comforting ramen.
Recipe: Birria de Res
Are ribs the quintessential braising meat? This Alison Roman recipe, with its thousands of five-star ratings, is a case in point. After deep cooking, a brief simmer and a few hours in the oven, the tough meat transforms, falling off the bones and becoming one with the red wine braising liquid.
Recipe: Braised short ribs with garlic and red wine
In this quintessentially Filipino braise from chef Angela Dimayuga, the coconut fulfills a triple function: the coconut oil serves as a fat to make the spices bloom and sear the chicken, the coconut milk adds body to the braising and the coconut vinegar imparts that non-negotiable flavor. Each builds on the last, and none fade into the background.
Recipe: Chicken adobo with coconut milk
There’s a lot going on in this classic French stew, and the results are worth it. Bacon, mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery fortify the red wine stew liquid for a dish as rich as stewed chicken is succulent. For best results, Melissa Clark recommends marinating the chicken overnight.
Recipe: Rooster in wine
Braising’s ability to turn large chunks of meat into delicate shreds gave Cuba’s national dish its name: the tender, ragged flank steak looks a lot like “ropa vieja,” or old clothes. This recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt is a brazier built on a brazier, and aromatic cooked peppers and onions give the broth the meat cooks in with plenty of flavor.
Coconut milk is an excellent braising base for tough, hearty greens, as Von Diaz demonstrates with this recipe. As it cooks, the choux wilts and soaks up the subtly sweet liquid, creating something that can only be described as silky.
Recipe: Coconut Braised Green Cabbage