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Hy-Vee Dietitian: Braising - The Beauty of Low and Slow

Braising is a cooking technique used to cook large pieces of meat that are generally less tender. These pieces of meat are usually less expensive so braising is a perfect budget-friendly technique. Great cuts of beef for braising include the chuck, the brisket or the round roast. Lamb shanks and pork shoulder also work well for braising. Braising involves browning the meat with some oil. Browning is done to create flavor to the meat, not to actually cook the meat. After the meat is browned, cook the meat low and slow with a small amount of liquid (e.g. broth, vinegar, wine or water). This cooking technique will help tenderize the meat. The result is flavorful, tender and moist meat.

One of the most common times to braise is when making a pot roast. Here is a traditional pot roast recipe.

Pot Roast with Fall Vegetables
Serves: 8

All you need:
teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck or bottom round roast, trimmed of fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) beef broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and each cut in half

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine thyme, 1 teaspoons salt, and teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper; use to rub all over roast.
2. In 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add roast and cook about 10 minutes or until well browned on all sides. Transfer roast to plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to Dutch oven, and cook 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth, water, Worcestershire, and bay leaf; heat to boiling on high. Return roast to Dutch oven; cover and place in oven. Cook 2 hours.
3. After roast has cooked 2 hours, stir in potatoes and carrots; cover and cook in oven 30 minutes longer. Place green beans on top of roast and vegetables in Dutch oven; cover and cook in oven 15 minutes longer or until meat and all vegetables are tender.
4. Place roast on large platter; discard bay leaf. Spoon vegetables around roast and serve.

Nutrition Information per serving: 375 calories, 10 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 71 mg cholesterol, 770 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 8 g dietary fiber, 33 g protein.


Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Here is a less traditional braised recipe when you want a quick meal.

Braised Balsamic Chicken
Serves: 6.

All you need:
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
cup balsamic vinegar*
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
teaspoon dried thyme

All you do:
1. Season chicken breasts with ground black pepper and garlic salt. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, and brown the onion and seasoned chicken breasts.
2. Pour tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken, and season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes.
3. Serve with either rice or pasta.

*Optional: substitute cup balsamic vinegar with cup balsamic vinegar and cup chicken broth.

Nutrition Information per serving: 206 calories, 6.1 g total fat, 68 mg cholesterol, 538 mg sodium, 7.5 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g dietary fiber, 28.2 g protein.


Total Time: 30 minutes

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