How to Braise Meats
A Brown Braise
When you braise a tough cut of meat like lamb shanks in a flavorful liquid, you make it fall-off-the-bone tender. We're doing a brown braise, which means the meat is seared and the veggies are browned before the liquid is added.
First, season your meat and get your pot nice and hot. Use a heavy-bottomed deep pot, like a Dutch oven. Add some oil.
Sear the Meat
Add the meat and brown or sear it. You want it to be deep dark brown on all sides. Then remove and set aside.
Next, add the vegetables to the Dutch oven. You want to brown them up.
When the vegetables are nice and soft, deglaze the pan with wine. The acidity of the wine balances the richness of the meat. Be sure to scrape up all the flavorful brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add the meat back to the pot with the veggies.
Then add stock or water halfway up the meat you're braising and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Once it's simmering, you can add in aromatics. Cover and keep it at a low simmer on the stovetop or in the oven at 350 degrees F.
Cooking low and slow breaks down the tough meat so it's tender and delicious. It will take about 1 1/2 to 3 hours to become fork tender. When it's just fork tender, it's done.
Ready to Eat
With braising, just a little effort yields amazing results.