Wintertime Braised Meals

Meltingly tender dishes that will warm you up on a cold day.

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

In the cold and dark days of winter, very few dishes top a steaming dish of fork-tender braised short ribs.

Slowly braising tough cuts of meat leaves it so tender it falls off the bone, and the connective tissues and fat render down, enriching the sauce. As well, the tough cuts of meat suited for braising are relatively inexpensive to buy, making braised meat an economical dinner choice.

Braising is also a very easy cooking technique that does not require a lot of hands-on work. Simply brown the meat well, add the liquids and let it cook, low and slow, until the meat falls off the bone. 

If you’re cooking for one or two, braised dishes can be repurposed for a second or third meal during the week (plus, braised meat usually tastes better a day or two after it was made). Braised meat, torn into pieces, can be added to pastas, salads, sandwiches, even soup.

 

Appetizers:

Warm Spinach Salad

A simple green salad, embellished with crunchy spiced walnuts and tender braised pears, tossed in a fruity dressing.

 

Entrées:

Slow-Braised Beef Short Ribs

From The Daily Meal

A classic braised meat dish. The low heat turns this once-tough cut of meat into something meltingly tender.

Serve with Fresh Pasta

From The Daily Meal

Making fresh egg pasta at home is not as difficult as you may think.

 

Beer-Braised Pork Chops with Pears and Apples

From The Daily Meal

It is quite easy to overcook (and dry out) pork. This recipe calls for braising the chops in beer, cooking the meat through so it is moist and tender.

Serve with Basic Mashed Potatoes #2

From The Daily  Meal

A simple mashed potato recipe that even mashed potato-haters like.

 

Braised Duck Legs

The gamey flavor of duck pairs well with tender and sweet shallots and earthy parsnips.

Serve with a Sweet Potato Gratin

From The Daily Meal

A basic side dish, full of flavor, that can be made in advance and baked just before serving.

 

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Pickled Red Onion

From The Daily Meal

If you need to serve a crowd for lunch, braise a pork shoulder a couple of days in advance. The meat will fall right off the bone and can be used in this sandwich, or for tacos, fajitas, even burritos.

Serve with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Sea Salt

From The Daily Meal

A fun alternative to French fries that doesn’t require hot oil, and is full of flavor.

 

Side Dishes:

Braised Endive

Gently braising endive removes the bitterness that some people dislike. The mustard vinaigrette adds a nice kick of flavor.

 

Desserts:

 

Riesling Poached Pears

Many of the pears you find in grocery stores are tough and fibrous to eat alone. Once peeled and gently cooked in a liquid, the fruit becomes spoon tender. An easy dessert that is just as good eaten at breakfast with yogurt the next day.

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