Braising is the method of cooking meat at a low temperature for a long period of time in a tightly sealed container like a Dutch oven. This method of “moist-heat cooking” is forgiving and slowly cooking the meat allows for tough, lean (and often cheaper) cuts of meat to break down and become tender and juicy. Some of my favorite cuts for braising include pork shoulder, chicken thighs, oxtails, lamb shanks and short ribs. These comforting recipes also pair well with root vegetables like carrots and potatoes or hearty roasted winter squash.
I love a good braise because you really can’t mess it up. With this “hands-off” method, as long as you season (typically with salt and pepper) and sear the meat first, then add it to a tightly covered oven-safe pot, combine it with aromatics and liquid and cook it for a long time at a low temperature, you don’t run the risk of overcooking as you would using other methods.
The oven keeps your house warm and the end result is the perfect comfort food. Tender meat with the flavorful braising liquid served over things like pasta, polenta, rice or risotto are exactly the types of meals I crave when the temperatures drop. From beef or pork, chicken to lamb or duck and even vegetables (just choose vegetables you would typically sauté like onions or carrots) – you name it, I’ll braise it! Braised recipes also typically make good leftovers.
Dutch ovens are the best for braising. They can go from stovetop to oven and both retain heat and distribute it evenly. The heavy, tight fitting lid keeps the steam and liquid in while the ingredients slowly cook. With braising you will notice that the liquids don’t reduce much, it’s because there’s nowhere for the steam to go. While you can slow cook in a crockpot I prefer using Dutch ovens.
If you’re looking to start braising I’d recommend one of these Dutch ovens:
In this recipe succulent spiced red wine braised beef ragù is paired with bitter mustard greens and a zesty chile gremolata. I serve the ragu over pasta for a rich and unique pasta dinner.
Braised short ribs are served in a syrupy blackberry and red wine sauce over whipped ricotta and tender, earthy roasted golden beets.
Pandang curry is characterized by balanced sweet and savory flavors with nutty undertones and a bright citrusy finish.
Chicken adobo or adobong manok is one of the most well known Filipino dishes. Chicken thighs and drumsticks are simmered in a tangy sauce made from soy sauce and vinegar with plenty of garlic.
This chicken thighs recipe uses bright lemongrass flavors and fuses them with savory flavors of onion, garlic and fish sauce.
Chicken breasts are slowly simmered in a mixture of tomatoes, chipotles, onion, oregano, thyme and bay leaf until they can be easily shredded for the filling of these tacos.
The ragù is served over pasta and topped with creamy burrata cheese for one of my favorite hearty meals for a cozy night in. It’s perfect for a chilly winter night curled up with a bottle of full-bodied red wine.
Short ribs are braised for a few hours at a low temperature with maple and bourbon until they are fork tender and falling off the bone.
This classic Milanese dish is made up of braised veal shanks in a white wine and tomato-based sauce that is served over a bed of saffron risotto and gremolata.
Chicken drumsticks and thighs are slow cooked over a low heat in a flavorful spicy gochujang and soy sauce and served over rice.
This chili con carne builds smoky heat from the roasted and reconstituted guajillo, ancho and arbol chilies — the base of the deep reddish/ brown sauce (also known as “bowl of red” because of the signature color).
These Venezuelan-style arepas are served stuffed with oxtails that have been braised with red wine and chili powder and filled with avocado, and black beans.
Al pastor tacos consist of an amazing blend of marinated, tender and aromatic pork with pineapple.
This chicken is so tender and makes topping for a crispy tostada paired with crispy mushrooms and refried lentils in this unconventional recipe.
Braised beef short ribs in a flavorful soy sauce with kiwi to tenderize the meat served in corn tortillas with slaw inspired by my favorite Kogi tacos.
In this recipe, the lamb is braised in Moroccan spices until it is “fall off the bone tender” and is paired with a flavorful herb salad for an impressive entrée fit for a dinner party.
Nothing is more comforting in chilly weather than a rich and hearty braise.
American lamb shanks are braised in a red wine based broth until they can be easily shredded with a fork.
This classic Roman dish of braised baby artichokes is paired with creamy burrata and grilled bread for a delectable appetizer – it features baby artichokes, one of my favorite spring ingredients.
These short ribs are braised in a citrusy, chili based broth until they are falling off of the bone.
Roast whole chicken legs served over kale and cannellini beans with lemon for a quick healthy-ish weeknight dinner.
Braising practically foolproof, but the meat is so incredibly tender that you end up with a perfect serving sauce with tons of flavor and practically no additional effort!
The tender, practically melt-in-your-mouth braised pork complements the melty cheese and kimchi in this grown up version of your childhood (or “drunk food”) classic.
While you can always go with your favorite store bought BBQ sauce, this recipe comes together with things you can probably (I make no promises!) find in your cabinets. Replace the stock with beer for delicious beer braised pork.
Korma is a mildly spicy, aromatic Indian sauce made with curry powder, pureed almonds, cashews and a bit of yogurt, which adds a creamy texture to the sauce.