This classic cooking technique calls for
food to be browned in hot fat, then covered and slowly cooked in a small
amount of liquid over low heat. Braising is ideal for preparing tough cuts
of meat, such as beef short ribs and pork shoulder, and firm-textured
vegetables, such as cabbage, leeks and turnips.
To braise vegetables evenly, cut the
vegetables to a uniform size. And to brown meat faster, time could be
saved by browning it on a grill or under a broiler while you use the
braising pot to sauté the vegetables. After browning, combine everything
in the braising pot without skipping a beat. Another way to cut braising
time is to use a pressure cooker, it could saves time by half without
sacrificing flavor or tenderness. To convert a braised recipe for the
pressure cooker, cut both the liquid and cooking time in half.
Time could also be saved by stir-braising.
If you thinly slice tough cuts of meat, stir-frying techniques can be used
to speed recipes for braising and stewing. Because the timing is shorter,
flavors come from the addition of sauces, seasonings and stock rather than
from long simmering.
Use stock or vegetable juice, or a
combination, instead of water to add extra flavor to your dish. Fruit
juices can also be used, and their sweetness may help balance the acidity
of tomatoes or wine. Apple cider goes well with poultry or pork. Getting
creative with braising is simple. Just combine ingredients such as
carrots, celery and leeks and run through a juicing machine. If you don't
have a juicer, a health food store can juice the ingredients for you.
Bottled vegetable juices are also available in health food stores.