Braising steak

For extra flavor, tenderness and ease, try braising

Braising is a professional chef’s best friend. It’s a simple cooking technique that can take a tough cut of meat and make it tender to the ground. It’s delicious. It’s humid. This is delicious. And anyone can do it.

Chef Dave Swanson believes in it so much he even named his restaurant after him (in fact, Braise in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood celebrated its fifth anniversary last December).

“Braising is a mainstay of the culinary world,” he said. “Marinating, reducing, making sauces, searing proteins – for me, it’s back to cooking.”

In its simplest form, braising is pot roasting. The meat is cooked at a low temperature and slowly partially submerged in the liquid (as opposed to stew in which the meat is totally submerged in the liquid).

You can braise any type of meat, from lamb and beef to pork and chicken. However, the best cuts to use are muscles used for stabilization and locomotion, such as the legs and shoulders.

“That’s because those muscles build up connective tissue and it takes longer to cook to break down and become tender,” Swanson said. “Think of the muscle that moves the animal forward. It’s good braising meat.

One of Swanson’s favorite braising meats is goat.

“It’s overlooked, but it’s one of those dishes that will see a resurgence next year,” he said. “Five years ago, you couldn’t have a goat. But with so many people making goat cheese, it becomes much more available. »

One of his favorite ways to use goat is in a curry with diced potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, carrots and parsnips.

Although a recipe is helpful for beginners to braise, once you know the right method, you can cook without a recipe.

The first step is to season your meat with salt and pepper (or marinate) and heat your skillet sizzling hot. Next, add your oil and sear your meat until dark brown on all sides.

Remove the meat to a plate and add your vegetables to the pot. When the vegetables are golden and slightly tender, deglaze the pan with the wine (the acidity will balance the richness of the meat). This is where the flat-bottomed spoon comes in. Reduce the wine before adding the meat.

Then add the broth to the pan so that it reaches half of the meat; bring to a boil then reduce to low heat. Then add aromatics (like a bunch of fresh herbs) and simmer on the stovetop or in a 325 degree oven for one to three hours (stewing pieces of meat will take less time to braise than a whole roast) .

All you’re left with is tender meat in a rich, flavorful sauce that customers will smell as soon as they walk through the door.

This method can also be used for vegetables to make them rich and delicious. Some hearty vegetables that braise well include Brussels sprouts, kale, and flat beans (also known as Romano green beans).

“At Braise, we make a lot of fresh goat cheese,” Swanson said. “We save the leftover whey and braise the turnips in there.”

At Braise Culinary School, Swanson teaches a braising class where students learn proper techniques as well as a classic recipe for braised beef. “You can braise anything your heart desires,” he said.

Braising Secrets

  • Make sure your pan is hot before searing the meat. Adding cold meat to a cold skillet is more like a dough recipe than the pork roast you imagined.
  • Season your raw meat with good old fashioned salt and pepper before cooking.
  • Cook using a Dutch oven or a braiser. A braising pan is twice as deep as a sauté pan and has straight sides. What is important is that you have a wide base for cooking so that the pieces of meat are not piled on top of each other.
  • Always make sure you have a lid that fits your pan snugly.
  • Don’t throw those brown bits in the bottom of your pot. These flavor bombs will take your dish from ordinary to extraordinary.
  • Only use wine you plan to drink. Not only will it make your dish taste better, but you’ll appreciate that glass even more if you have some left over after cooking.


Classic Braised Beef

Coq au vin braises chicken and vegetables in cognac, red wine and chicken broth.

Rooster in wine

Brussels sprouts and bacon make a great braising team.

Braised Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots

Kale braises in 15 to 20 minutes.

Braised Kale