Braised meats make a warm and savory meal when it’s cold outside. Pot roast, pork and sauerkraut, braised chicken pieces, Osso Bucco, pulled pork, beef short ribs, lamb shanks – you name the meat, and there is bound to be a recipe for braising it.
What Braising Is
Braising means slowly cooking meat in moist heat. The moisture comes from a liquid, and that liquid might be broth, tomato sauce, wine, or even plain water.
The meat is cooked in the liquid in a covered casserole dish or Dutch oven under low heat for several hours. As the liquid is absorbed by the meat and reduced, you end up with a succulent dish with complex flavors.
Once you get the hang of braising, you can start to experiment with different vegetables, herbs, fruits, and spices to bring out the rich flavor of the meat.
Some braising basics to keep in mind:
- Lean cuts of meat benefit from the addition of acidic foods or liquids to break down the flesh and soften the meat. Liquids like tomato sauce, diluted vinegar, and wine are good choices. Foods like sauerkraut, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, or citrus also work well.
- Browning meat before braising is supposedly unnecessary, but I continue to do it anyway. If you coat the meat with flour to brown it, that flour will help thicken the cooked juices in the dish.
- Adjustments to the seasonings can be done after the dish has been cooked. It’s better to err on the side of lighter seasoning than to end up with a way-too-salty cooked dish.
- Add vegetables to braised meat toward the end of the cooking time (rather than at the start), to avoid overcooking.
Here’s a recipe for Braised Beef Rump Roast that is easy, delicious, and will make your house smell great. Also, check out Chicken in a Pot with Turmeric and Lemon for another braised stand-out meal.
Braised Beef Rump Roast
- 2 ½-3 lb. beef roast (rump, English, chuck, etc.)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. Urfa Biber (Aleppo pepper) – optional
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 onions, medium, trimmed and skinned
- 8 cloves, whole
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 14½ oz. tomatoes, diced, canned
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Pat roast dry with paper towel.
- Mix flour in a shallow dish with salt and all dried spices except cloves.
- Heat olive oil in casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Coat beef with the flour and spice mixture, then add to casserole and brown on all sides. Turn off heat.
- Trim and peel skin off of onions. Stud with cloves. Add to casserole.
- Finally, add balsamic vinegar and tomatoes to casserole.
- Cover and bake until liquid starts to boil (15-20 minutes). Then, reduce heat to 310°F.
- Cook for about 3 hours, checking liquid level and adding hot water as needed.
- Serve immediately, or cool and shred with a fork and store in refrigerator with liquid from pan.
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