Braising and stewing are cooking methods that are cost efficient, packed full of flavor, aromatic, and comforting…like a big hug from your loved ones on a cold day. The long cook process makes you scream with desire after you finally get that first bite of tenderness that warms the soul.
It’s easy enough for anyone, seriously, ANYONE, so be prepared for compliments, because these methods will make you a Chef Hero!
Braising vs. Stewing
The difference really comes down to the size of the meat. Braising is usually done with a large piece of meat, like a Boston butt or shoulder, rump roast, lamb shanks, or beef short ribs.
Stewing on the other hand, is done with cut up or smaller pieces of meat like chopped meat, fowl, or seafood. Dishes like chicken curry, chili, gumbo, beef stew or goulash, and bouillabaisse, are stewed meat recipes.
Learn more about braising in, Braising 101: 6 Steps to Tenderness with Multiple Flavor Options.
Combination Cooking Methods:
Both braising and stewing are combination cooking methods, meaning they use more than one of the Fabulous Five cooking essentials.
The first method is searing, or sautéing the product over high heat to add flavors from the caramelization of the outer layer. You seal in that meaty flavor and create a bit of a crust which again, adds to that final flavor burst.
Complete the slow cooking process by adding stock or some other liquid about two-thirds of the way up the sides of your product. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid before finishing in a 250 degree F oven for 1-3.5 hours (depending on the size of your meat).
Inside that oven, with all that liquid, you’re braising your meat for fork tender doneness. All you have to do is sit back, relax, let the heat and the juices do the hard work, while you take all the credit.
Mmmm…can you smell it?
What You’ll Need
For these “set it and forget it” cooking methods, you’ll need a heavy-bottom round or oval pot with a tight fitting lid that can be put into the oven. I recommend a dutch oven made of ceramic and cast iron, or stainless steel.
Here are some of my favorite brands:
Crock pots and the new Instant Pot Duo Plus can also be great options.
You’re also going to need a good pair of tongs or strong utility forks so you can move around your product and confidently transfer from sauté pan to dutch oven.
If you’re ready to get going, check out my braising recipes in The Fabulous Five on ChefJungle.com.
What does braising and stewing make you think of? All I get is warm fuzzies when thinking about the delicious one-pot dishes these produce, what about you? Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page, Chef Gerrie’s Chef Jungle.