1st Start by choosing a cut of meat. Lamb or beef shank, pork or beef shoulder roast, top blade steak, brisket, chuck roast, and short or back ribs are the most common beef, lamb and pork braising choices. Most are tougher cuts of meat with high levels of protein known as collagen. Collagen cooked at low temperatures for long period’s converts to gelatin in the braising process which in turn tenderizes the meat and creates a rich thick sauce. So don’t think you need to buy a tender cut of meat to end up with a good meal. In the end tougher cuts of meat are better for creating the richest flavor and thicker sauce. The secret is in the gentle slow cooking. Chicken and fish are also great choices, however, chicken should not be skinless and bone in is best, preferably legs and thighs, and for fish, shark and swordfish cuts will hold up better than others.
2nd Then brown in fat. Depending on your recipe, most meats are browned first in a small amount of fat for color and flavor enhancing. Using a Dutch Oven or large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, add your fat, heat to a hot temperature, add the meat and brown on all sides. Usually browning takes 10-20 minutes and is a process that does not cook the meat all the way through, it’s a surface cooking called browning or searing to lock in flavor. Most commonly meat is left whole for braising, but if meats are cut, remember same size portions are the best for even cooking.
3rd Then add your liquid. Liquids can include, wine, apple juice, water, broth or etc. Liquids, however, should not cover the meat. Usually no more than a ¼ - 1 cup is needed and sometimes no liquid is added depending on the recipe. Also at this point other items can be added, onions, garlic, spices, vegetables and etc.
4th Cover and cook on a very low heat, over a stove top, in a slow cooker or in the oven usually for 1 to 4 or more hours, depending on the recipe. Oven cooking is most effective, due to even heat from all sides which offers the best flavor and tenderizing results, along with a less fussy project. ( braising temperatures are 145-300 degrees, inexperienced cooks, however, should not cook below 185-200 without proper equipment for temperature control, meat can spoil if improperly cooked on to low a heat, if there is a simmer (small bubbling) going on in the pot you know your temp is not to low)
Instructions graciously provided by Ezine Articles