If you’re looking for an easy dinner idea, turn to braising. Braising, sometimes referred to as pot roasting, is an economical, unfussy combination-cooking method that takes advantage of less expensive (and less tender) cuts of meat. The long cook time at low temperatures produces a rich pan sauce while you sit back and let the oven or stovetop do the work for you.
Most braises follow the same basic steps. The food to be braised is first seared over high heat, typically in the same braising pot to be used for the entire recipe. Searing caramelizes the surface of the meat, introducing a complex flavor to the entire dish. A small amount of cooking liquid, that often includes an acidic element, such as tomatoes, beer or wine, is added to the pot with stock or water. The dish is then covered and cooked at a very low simmer on the stovetop or in the oven, until the meat is fork tender which can take two to four hours, depending on the cut of meat.
Popular braising dishes include Coq au Vin, pot roast, beef stew, Swiss steak, chicken cacciatore, goulash, and beef bourguignon, to name a few.
Tomato-braised beef short ribs recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 pounds (bone-in) beef short ribs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled and thickly sliced
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and quartered
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Shaved Parmesan
- Fresh oregano leaves
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a Dutch oven, heat two tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season all sides with salt and pepper. Place ribs in the Dutch oven; sear all sides. Remove ribs, and set aside.
- Add remaining one tablespoon of oil, onion and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, four minutes. Add bay, thyme, garlic and oregano to pan; cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Stir in tomatoes and vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste; bring to boiling. Return ribs to pan, cover. Place pan in oven; braise three hours or until meat easily pulls away from the bone.
- Remove pan from oven and remove ribs from pan; set aside on a warmed platter. Skim and discard fat from pan sauce. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme stems; add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over ribs, garnish with shaved Parmesan and fresh oregano, and serve with pasta, rice or polenta.