Lots of recipes you can prepare to take your time with a slow cooker in the kitchen. And when it comes to gentle cooking, braising meats and vegetables are the first things that hit our mind. But proper braising of meats or vegetables is not an easy task; there are some specific tricks you can follow to have the best of braising. You need to know about those tricks to experience the perfect slow cooker braised steak and vegetables.
What is Braising Exactly?
Braising is a great cooking method adopted worldwide to cook vegetables, meats or both. In this process, the principal ingredient is either seared or browned at first. Then the ingredients are simmered in a covered pot like a slow cooker, pressure cooker or even Dutch oven.Providing low heat with a slow cooker for the moist covered food for longer time delivers a wonderful texture full of taste.
The output using slow cooker is quite pleasing and tasteful and you can get the delicious sauce, broth,and gravy. You can explore your suitable slow cooker from here to get the perfect braised meat/vegetable.
Suitable Ingredients for Braising
Not all foods are suitable for braising in slow cooker, therefore, you must know which ones are the most suitable with slow cooking.
- Meat: Tough, less tenderized meat cuts from exercised muscular tissues can give the best braising. In fact, they contain more amount of connective tissue that breaks down while cooking to impart the taste.
- Fruits & Vegetables: Several vegetables like onions, potatoes, leeks, carrots, cabbage,and beets are incredibly great when it comes to braising. Though the choice for particular fruits may change according to the season, you can use some fruits with your meat as well.
- Chicken: Although lots of people tend to braise skinless/boneless chicken breasts, you can’t expect a good result with that. The best parts for braising are chicken thighs, legs,and even the whole body. But for a flavored output, you need to keep the bones and skin.
- Fish: Almost any fish you can easily braise using the slow cooker. But the firm and large-sized fish will give a better result for sure comparing with any tender filets. In case of tenderized fish, try to shorten the cooking time to avoid its falling apart.
How to Braise Your Vegetables?
Though the cooking process shares similarity for meat and vegetables, ingredients differ in each case. Therefore, we provided an individual section for braising meat and vegetables.
To prepare your delicious vegetable braise, you will need a reasonable amount of vegetables suitable for braising. Apart from that, unsalted butter, finely diced onion, chicken stock/broth, dry white wine and sea salt are necessary for sufficient amount. You can add fresh pepper grind and lemon juice to increase the taste and flavor.
- Step 1: Cutting the Vegetables
At first, wash the vegetables and make trimming. Then cut the vegetables maintaining equal size as much as possible to ensure even cooking.
- Step 2: Heating Butter/Oil in the Cooker
Clean the cooker and place it over medium-level heat. Then add a suitable amount of butter or oil required for uniform cooking.
- Step 3: Cooking the Onions
When the butter gets melted, add up the onions to the cooker. Stir the diced onions for sufficient time until they get softened.
- Step 4: Adding the Vegetables
Now, consolidate the pieced vegetables to the cooker and provide sufficient chicken stock and sea salt. Then try to raise the heat to impart boiling condition. When larger bubbles start to form, reduce the cooking heat until smaller bubbles prevail.
- Step 5: Braising the Ingredients
At this point, cover the cooking using the lid and let the vegetables to braise inside the cooker until it gets tenderized. This braising time differs according to vegetables – 15 minutes for celery, 20 minutes for fennel and 25 minutes for leeks.
- Step 6: Testing for Completion
To check whether braising is complete or not, try to insert the tip of a paring knife into a vegetable piece. When the tip easily gets in and out while the piece still offers some firmness, your braising is done.
How to Braise Your Meat?
As mentioned before, braising meat is more or less the same with vegetable braising. But you will need some additional ingredients to complete the cooking. You will need beef stock, round steaks and garlic cloves instead of vegetables. You can add some condiments and vegetables to induce better taste.
Here the cooking steps are almost similar, you just need to thicken the braise in the last stage. In fact, you will need a sufficient amount of butter/margarine, liquid and flour to make a proper mix.
It seems quite easy to braise meat/vegetables, but you won’t get the taste you desire if you don’t know the tricks. Through our article on slow cooker steaks and vegetables, you can attain the perfect taste. And you can enjoy the full efficiency of your slow cooker regardless of the choice.