Chilly weather is the perfect setting for warm, comforting food. Enter the beauty of braising, our favourite technique for a season of slow cooking – and a technique tailor-made for Le Creuset’s Signature Buffet Casserole. Braised meats are meltingly tender with a rich, flavorful sauce.
Here’s how to achieve braising perfection in four basic steps!
Searing adds a layer of flavour by caramelising the proteins and sugars. Make sure the meat is very dry before cooking, and do not overcrowd the pan. It’s best to use a tougher, cheaper cut of meat. The connective tissue breaks down into gelatin to create a thick, rich sauce.
Vegetables add sweetness and thicken the sauce. Go traditional with a mirepoix of carrots, onion and celery; or broaden your horizons with leeks, peppers and parsnips. The flavour profile is up to you. Cut into even pieces and saute until nicely caramelised, but not scorched.
After the vegetables are browned, a delicious crust of concentrated flavour, called fond, will remain in the pan. Add wine to deglaze the pan, and scrape with a spatula spoon. For a sauce that packs a flavour punch, be sure to scrape up all the fond. This should be easy, since the enamel interior readily releases cooked-on foods (which also makes clean-up a breeze!)
Reduce the liquid and return the meat to the casserole. Cover with the lid, put it in the oven, and leave to cook low and slow. Let time do all the work of tenderising the meat and thickening the sauce. The goal of braising is a dish that can be eaten with just a fork – no knife needed for cutting, and no spoon needed for a thin broth.
READY TO SERVE…
Once ready, the Signature Buffet Casserole can be taken straight to the table as a stunning serving dish. Because of cast iron’s excellent heat retention properties, the food should remain warm for the duration of the meal (depending on how many times the lid is removed and the volume of food left inside). Cast iron has many other benefits too!
Click the image below to read the intricacies of getting the perfect braise!
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