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 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 12 recipes for some all-star braising 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. Get our Braised Pork Chops and Fennel recipe.
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.
Korean fermented cabbage contributes a lot of deep, complex flavors when cooked with beef. Don’t use Korean-style ribs (i.e., galbi ribs) for this recipe, but the meatier English-cut short ribs. Get our Kimchi-Braised Short Ribs recipe.
4. Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
These short ribs will fall off the bone, and the red wine sauce only gets better as it simmers. Try these with some mashed potatoes, polenta, or roasted fall vegetables. Make sure to brown the ribs carefully to bring out the flavor of the meat.
Photo and recipe from Fine Cooking
5. Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Fava Beans
If fava beans aren’t on your radar yet now’s a great time to try them. This chicken with baby artichokes is simple to prepare ahead of time and you can use a single Dutch oven to save time cleaning pots and pans. As with the beef, be sure to brown the chicken carefully before you add the other braising ingredients to maximize flavor.
Photo and recipe from Epicurious
6. Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato Sauce
Alex Guarnaschelli’s chicken almost-cacciatore is so simple that you can hardly call it cooking. Combine all the ingredients in a skillet and be sure to add some water if your simmering liquid gets too thick. With cumin, ginger, garlic, and chile flakes, this recipe has some serious flavor.
Photo and recipe from the Food Network
7. Braised Pork Shoulder
This recipe is like a choose-your-own-adventure book: You can make pork ragu, open-faced porchetta sandwiches, and many more things. Follow Martha’s easy instructions and you’ve got a week’s worth of dinners ready ahead of time.
Photo and recipe from Martha Stewart
8. Greek-Style Braised Green Beans
Braising beans is so rewarding and really makes the most out of frozen vegetables. This tangy recipe includes red pepper flakes, garlic, onion, and cinnamon for a warm, wintry flavor. Serve the beans with lemon wedges to add some acidity and brighten the Roma tomato flavor.
Photo and recipe from The Kitchn
9. Braised Fennel
Braising is just as tasty when used with vegetables instead of meat. This braised fennel recipe is simple but delicious. It’s great as an easy side dish that you don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing.
Photo and recipe from Simply Recipes
10. Wintery Braised Red Cabbage
Braised red cabbage is unusual and the opposite of boring, boiled cabbage. With only butter, red wine vinegar, and apples (plus optional red or black currant jelly), this recipe is simple, and as healthy as it is colorful.
Photo and recipe from Food52
11. Lager-Braised Veal Shanks with Vegetables
Braising isn’t just for stock or broth; try using beer as a substitute and you’ll be surprised by the complex flavors. These lager-braised veal shanks are an interesting take on the Milanese braise osso buco made with beer instead of wine—they won’t disappoint.
Photo and recipe from Draft
12. Rustic Braised Apple Quarters with Raisins and Toasted Almonds
Braising isn’t just for the main course; 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 braised apple quarters with Calvados elevate dessert to something special. Add a little vanilla ice cream and you’re all set.
Photo and recipe from Organic Gardening; header braising image from CHOW