Braising is a cook’s best friend—with a few simple steps, you can make a meal that tastes like it’s straight out of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Here’s our basic braising primer, but just remember that braising liquid is worth its weight in gold. The rich sauce that results is packed with flavor, velvety and mouth-watering. Check out these 15 easy braising recipes for some all-star comfort food dinner ideas:
One of many cool things about this easy weeknight dish is that you only need one pan to cook meat and veg—bone-in pork loin chops and sliced fresh fennel bulbs. They brown and turn tender together, swapping flavors, getting support from vermouth, Dijon mustard, garlic, and lemon. Use a deep skillet or a Dutch oven, as you please. Get our Braised Pork Chops and Fennel recipe.
All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Skillet with Lid, $99.96 at Sur La Table
You'll need a reasonably deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid for braising.
Related Reading: The 9 Best Skillets for 2020
Brown a whole chuck roast, then deglaze the pot with red wine. Pop the roast in the oven and slow-cook it with herbs and aromatics until it falls apart and, to cut through the richness, top it with a gremolata of tart diced apples tossed with lemon zest and parsley. Get our Red Wine–Braised Beef with Apple Gremolata recipe.
Related Reading: A Chef’s Simple Trick for the Best-Tasting Braises Ever
Red wine-braised short ribs are timeless, but don’t knock cola as a braising liquid ’til you try it! The sweet soda strikes a perfect balance with the spicy rub on these ribs, and soy sauce and Worcestershire add umami savor to the gravy. Best of all, these cook to fork-tender perfection in about 30 minutes in the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker). Then all that’s left to do is thicken that beguiling sauce into a beefy, savory reduction that’s great over mashed potatoes or polenta. Get our Pressure Cooker Cola-Braised Short Ribs recipe.
Korean fermented cabbage (aka, kimchi) contributes a lot of deep, complex flavors when cooked with beef. Don’t use Korean-style ribs (i.e., galbi ribs) for this recipe, though; the meatier English-cut short ribs are necessary to get the proper tender texture. And if you can find them, bison short ribs take well to braising too. Get our Kimchi-Braised Short Rib recipe.
If rhubarb isn’t on your radar yet, now’s a great time to try it. This notoriously tart, pink stalk is often treated like a fruit and made into desserts, but it’s actually a vegetable and can be cooked like one too—braised with chicken in a mixture of stock, sherry, honey, and orange juice, it’s a stunning dish. Get our Rhubarb-Braised Chicken Thighs recipe.
Le Creuset Signature Round Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven (7.25 Quart), $399.95 at Sur la Table
A Dutch oven is an ideal vessel for braising.
Related Reading: All the Delicious Things You Can Do with Your Dutch Oven
This recipe was developed by beloved L.A. chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo for the Plated meal delivery service, but it’s easy to make at home from scratch. The key is to use fresh spices, which imbue this dish with fabulous North African flavor. But most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. Get the Braised Tunisian Chicken Thighs recipe.
Another way to jazz up chicken, Filipino adobo is basically a simple, vinegar-heavy braise with lots of onions. Make it in your slow cooker and it’s even easier. And all you need is fluffy white rice to soak up all the delicious liquid. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo recipe.
There are a lot of ways to braise pork shoulder (in beer, for one), but using milk as the liquid medium may be something you haven’t tried before. You should, because it’s absolutely delicious (and don’t worry if the sauce breaks; it’s bound to happen). Shred the milk-braised meat and serve over fresh pasta. Get our Milk Braised Pork Shoulder recipe.
Beef brisket practically melts once it’s been braised for several hours. This one calls for a rub of paprika and garlic powder, and is cooked with tomatoes, onions, brown sugar, and vinegar for a perfect sweet-savory flavor. Letting it rest in the fridge overnight makes it taste even better the next day (and means all you have to do for dinner is reheat). Get our Spice and Herb Oven-Braised Brisket recipe.
Braising big hunks of meat is the norm, but it’s also a great way to cook meatballs. These are sure to be some of the best you’ve ever tasted, not only due to the method (and the Italian brodo-inspired broth that is the medium), but the homemade meatballs themselves. Even if you skip grinding your own pork shoulder, pork fat, and prosciutto to blend with ricotta, bread, and herbs, this will still be a stellar dish. Get the Braised Meatball recipe.
Braising isn’t just for stock or broth; try using beer as a substitute and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the complex flavors that result. These ale-braised bratwursts with super-soft onions, caraway, and mustard are destined to be your new favorite way to make sausage. Get our Beer Braised Brats recipe.
This tomato-based braise is called kokkinisto, or “reddened.” It’s a rich way to serve lamb shoulder in Greek style, and tastes particularly great atop pasta studded with myzithra cheese, or lemony roasted potatoes. Get our Greek Braised Lamb recipe.
13. Braised Fennel
The technique of braising is just as tasty when applied to vegetables instead of meat. This braised fennel recipe is simple but delicious, in part thanks to brown butter and fresh orange juice. It’s great as an easy side dish that you don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing. Get our Braised Fennel recipe.
Braised red cabbage is a welcome winter side, but a more uncommon candidate for this low-and-slow cooking method is the sturdy brassica’s more delicate cousin, lettuce. Since it is more tender to begin with, it doesn’t need as long to cook, but it turns out fantastically tender and suffused with flavor, with crisp bacon, shallots, and peas along for the ride. And you thought grilled romaine was novel! Get our Braised Lettuce recipe.
Braising isn’t just for the main course—or for the veggie sides either. This recipe tests out the technique on dessert, and the results are delicious. A nice change of pace from apple pie or apple crisp, these caamel-braised apple halves with Calvados elevate dessert to something special. Add a little vanilla ice cream and you’re all set. Get the Caramel Braised Apples recipe.
Related Video: How to Make the Best Braised Garlic Pot Roast
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