Ask any chef what their favourite cooking method is and they are bound to say braising. It is a method I use often in the UrbnSpice kitchen. In this post, I explain what braising is all about, together with ideas and a recipe for a Classic Braised Beef Stew. This article is all about Braising Brazenness.
“Braising is one of the most amazingly delicious and yet simple methods of cooking an otherwise tough cut of meat.”
Braising is definitely one of my favourite methods of cooking. It uses a combination cooking technique in that the meat (example: beef cubes) is first seared to brown, and then cooked in a liquid slowly for a long period of time at a lower temperature. Beef stew, Osso Buco, pot roasts, chicken thighs, pork belly, beef ribs, lamb shanks and pulled pork are just a few examples of braising.
Try cooking a tough piece of meat using the braising method and I can guarantee that you will find it becomes one of your favourite methods of cooking as well.
But don’t stop there – did you know that you can also use this method for vegetables? I make a classic vegetable dish called Vichy Carrots, and Honey Glazed Rutabaga which you can see in the photos below. They use the same concept – braising. Once the vegetables are cooked, the cooking liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze.
- Braised Honey Glazed Rutabaga | urbnspice.com
Classic Braised Beef Stew
Classic Braised Beef Stew with Root Vegetables | urbnspice.com
CHEF TALK: I love a classic beef stew. My absolute favourite recipe is adapted from The Canadian Living Cookbook, which is no longer in publication. My copy has been well used by myself and my two daughters. I was able to find two more copies of the same book for them from collectors – they were thrilled as it was a cookbook that they used frequently with me in the kitchen. It is called Old Fashioned Beef Stew with Winter Vegetables. Winter vegetables are a perfect accompaniment. I like to cook the vegetables separately and then add it to the finished stew as a garnish.
Classic Braised Beef Stew
CLASSIC BRAISED BEEF STEW
|For the Stew:|
|2 ½ lbs||1.125 kg||Lean boneless chuck stewing beef|
|1 Tablespoon||15 ml||Olive Oil|
|3 Tablespoons||45 ml||Butter|
|¾ cup||175 ml||Onion, finely chopped|
|2||2||Cloves garlic, minced|
|¼ cup||50 ml||All Purpose flour or Gluten Free Flour Blend|
|1 teaspoon||5 ml||salt|
|½ teaspoon||2.5 ml||black pepper|
|1 teaspoon||5 ml||Dried Thyme|
|1 teaspoon||5 ml||Marjoram|
|1 cup||250 ml||Red Wine|
|3 cups||750 ml||Beef stock|
|For the Winter Vegetables:|
|2||2||Large Potatoes, cut into 1 inch dice (Waxy potatoes such as Red or New potatoes that hold their shape well after cooking)|
|8 – 10||8 – 10||Pearl Onions, peeled and left whole|
|4||4||Large Carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice|
|3||3||Small white turnip, cut into wedges & trimmed|
|2||2||Medium parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch dice|
|2||2||Stalks Celery, sliced into 1 inch slices|
|¼ cup||62.5 ml||Parsley, chopped fine|
For the Stew:
- Cut the Chuck beef into 1 inch cubes. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper.
- In heavy saucepan, heat the oil and half of the butter.
- Brown the cubes of beef in a single layer, ensuring that the beef is browned well. CHEF TIP: This part of the braising process is very important, so take the time the beef requires to caramelize nicely.
- When all of the meat is browned, set it aside. Melt more butter in the saucepan and sauté the onion until tender and golden. Add the minced garlic.
- Stir in the flour and continue cooking over medium heat until the flour is cooked out – about 3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Return the meat to the pan and add the beef stock, bay leaf and herbs.
- Simmer, either on top of the stove or in the oven until the beef is tender (about one and one-half hours.
- Once the beef is tender, remove the bay leaf and the beef cubes and keep the meat warm. The remaining braising liquid can be reduced if necessary.
- Combine the meat with the braising liquid, and distribute the cooked vegetables around and on top of the stew. Garnish with parsley and serve.
For the Vegetables:
- Peel the vegetables and prepare as indicated above.
- Steam the vegetables until tender. Steam the smaller dice vegetables separately. Distribute them around the stew and stir through, if desired.
CHEF TIP: The photograph shown was for a catering event. For added flavour and presentation, I tossed the steamed potatoes in paprika and lightly sautéed them just for colour. The turned turnip was kept very plain for presentation – it is beautiful brilliant white vegetable when steamed. Tossed in a bit of melted butter is all that is required for these beautiful vegetables.
Please CLICK the link above to access my UrbnSpice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
Braising is a technique that produces a sauce or glaze that is so rich and flavourful – it is hard to beat. I hope you are able to try Braising as a cooking technique in your kitchen with these ideas and recipes.
Happy Braising, Everyone!
The Urb’n’Spice Chef
Other Urb’n’Spice Recipes you might Enjoy!
Canadian Living – The only magazine I subscribe to since its inception. I trust the recipes from Canadian Living – they are triple-tested in their test kitchens.