Braising

17 Sep

This is a very important cooking technique to learn. It is basic and very much a technique for a beginner but anyone who tastes something that has been braised will swear that you are a genius.

Braising is when you cook meat first with dry heat and then finish by simmering that meat in a sauce. A perfect way of doing this is to sear meat in a pan first to get it nice and brown and then submerge it in a sauce and cook it for several hours at a low heat. This technique is especially well suited to pork but works well with any kind of meat.

A very basic but amazing example of a braising recipe is Mushroom soup pork chops. Sear pork chops ,that have been seasoned with seasoning salt and pepper, preferably in a cast iron frying pan. Set oven to somewhere between 300° and 350° depending on the time you have (3-6 hours at 300° and 1 hour at 350°). Once they are beautifully browned on each side place them into a roaster pan. You’re going to want 1 can of mushroom soup to every 3 or 4 pork chops. You can never have too much braising liquid but you can have too little. Open one can of soup and deglaze the frying pan with it making sure to scrape up all of that nice brown gravy the meat will have left behind. next simply pour the soup over the pork chops in the roaster. It is important the meat is completely or nearly completely covered by the sauce. You can add a few splashes of water but don’t add so much water that the sauce turns into soup. Remember that the meat will also release liquid into the sauce. If it looks like you need one more can of soup you can just stir it into the roaster the best you can. You don’t need to worry about lumps in fact you don’t even really need to stir it because it will melt into the sauce when exposed to heat.

It really is best to cook this at a lower heat for longer if you can. At 325° for 2-3 hours these pork chops will be so tender you will have a hard time picking them up with a fork because they will just fall apart.

This really is just the beginners intro to braising. Once you get comfortable with the basic idea the sky is the limit with the kind of sauces you can create. I love a tomato and orange sauce, a sweet and sour sauce with pineapple and vinegar and just a simple BBQ sauce braise.

This technique is why the slow cooker was invented so by all means use your slow cooker if you have the time. The only difference is that the sauce will brown in the oven but not in the slow cooker!

Happy braising!

6 thoughts on “Braising

    • I would reccomend any other cream soup, cream of chicken I think would be the best place to start or you could make a sauce from scratch using cream/milk and a roux. Another thing that works great are those instant gravy packets! Thanks for the question! Also, thank you for the invite! I’m going to check that out right now. – Lisa

  1. Hi,
    If I were to make this without a cream soup, what steps would I take? I know you mentioned cream/milk and a roux. Do you have specific steps?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Robyn, I have found that when it comes to braising that you can really use any liquid to create the same effect. I really like orange and tomato combinations like orange juice and tomato sauce or tomato juice and orange slices. Canned pineapple and BBQ sauce work really well too. But really any liquid at all and if it gets too thick you can just add a little water. Some ideas for liquids are pickle juice, vinegar, salsa, mustard, ketchup, Soy sauce, maple syrup, chicken broth, canned fruit and fruit juices. I recently have been diagnosed celiac and can no longer use cream soups either. I have been experimenting with using a milk mixture but have found that over long periods of time with too much heat the milk always curdles.

      As far as steps for a roux goes I always just added butter to a frying pan at medium heat and stirred in a little flour at a time until I got a nice thin paste like consistency. You want it to brown up a little to cook off the raw flour taste and then add it to what ever you are trying to thicken. generally when I used it, it was with broth and drippings to thicken a gravy. I never really got a chance to experiment with it too much for other sauces but I do know that if you mix that flour paste with milk you will end up more or less with a béchamel sauce and you could potentially braise in that if you were so inclined. I hope this helps 🙂

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