Braising is transformative. For generations, cooks across cultures have turned to the technique to create luscious comfort food from the toughest of meats, greens and beans. The beauty is not only in what it can create, but also in what it affords you: In many of the recipes below, the bulk of the cook time is hands-off. Simply sear, simmer and step away from the kitchen until the irresistible aromas call you back.
1. Sunday Sauce
Sundays are for cleaning, for resting, for braising, and this Ali Slagle recipe — a garlicky red sauce, replete with beef and pork of various textures — takes all that into consideration. It burbles away on the stovetop, filling your home with intoxicating smells capable of warding off even the most stubborn of Sunday scaries.
Recipe: Sunday Sauce
2. Soy-Braised Vegetable Jjim (Korean Vegetable Stew)
Kay Chun treats mushrooms, squash and a garden’s worth of root vegetables like short ribs in this dish inspired by Korean kalbi jjim. The vegetables soften and sweeten as they stew, and cooking them in the oven instead of on the stovetop ensures that they don’t get too much direct heat, keeping them largely in tact, but still supple.
Recipe: Soy-Braised Vegetable Jjim (Korean Vegetable Stew)
3. Eintopf (Braised Short Ribs With Fennel, Squash and Sweet Potato)
“Eintopf,” which means “one pot” in German, is less a category of dishes and more a philosophy, and there are as many versions of the hearty stew as there are admirers of it. This recipe from Yewande Komolafe features a heady combination of beef and root vegetables stewed in coconut milk. Consider this a petition to replace the phrase “aging like a fine wine” with “aging like a fine eintopf,” because this delectable one-pot meal only gets better as it sits.
Recipe: Eintopf (Braised Short Ribs With Fennel, Squash and Sweet Potato)
4. Braised Pork All’Arrabbiata
This rich braise from Ali Slagle deserves to be tucked lovingly into a bed of creamy polenta once it comes out of the oven. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare whatever starch you plan to pair it with, since the chile-spiced pork shoulder needs a good three hours to melt into the basil- and garlic-seasoned tomato base.
Recipe: Braised Pork All’Arrabbiata
5. Braised White Beans and Greens With Parmesan
Not all braises take a long time: This recipe from Lidey Heuck comes together in just half an hour. Canned cannellini beans and hearty greens like Swiss chard and kale soften and meld together in the garlicky broth for a vegetarian meal that’s just waiting to be sopped up with a hunk of grilled bread or toast.
Recipe: Braised White Beans and Greens With Parmesan
6. Braised Goat Leg in Obe Ata
This recipe from Yewande Komolafe builds on two common techniques in Nigerian cooking: braising meats, and using obe ata, a purée of red bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and habaneros, as a mother sauce. The recipe calls for goat meat, but a similarly sized bone-in cut of lamb or pork would work incredibly well here.
Recipe: Braised Goat Leg in Obe Ata
7. Birria de Res
While a rich pot of birria takes time, the possibilities are truly endless once you’ve pulled it out of the oven. This recipe, which Tejal Rao adapted from the chef Josef Centeno, is as delicious served in a bowl with some warmed tortillas as it is tucked into tacos with shredded cheese, cilantro and white onion, or used as the base for a comforting ramen.
Recipe: Birria de Res
8. Garlic Braised Short Ribs With Red Wine
Are short ribs the ultimate braising meat? This recipe from Alison Roman, with its thousands of five-star ratings, makes a good case. After a deep sear, a brief simmer and a few hours in the oven, the tough meat transforms, falling off the bones and becoming one with the red wine-spiked braising liquid.
Recipe: Garlic Braised Short Ribs With Red Wine
9. Coconut Milk Chicken Adobo
In this quintessentially Filipino braise from the chef Angela Dimayuga, coconut does triple duty: Coconut oil serves as the fat for blooming spices and searing chicken, coconut milk adds body to the braising liquid, and coconut vinegar imparts that nonnegotiable tang. Each one builds on the last, and none fade into the background.
Recipe: Coconut Milk Chicken Adobo
10. Coq au Vin
There’s a lot going on in this classic French stew, and the results are worth the effort. Lardons, mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery fortify the red wine stewing liquid for a dish that’s as rich as the cooked chicken is succulent. For the best outcome, Melissa Clark recommends marinating the chicken overnight.
Recipe: Coq au Vin
11. Ropa Vieja
Braising’s ability to turn large pieces of meat into delicate shreds gave the national dish of Cuba its name: The tender, tattered flank steak looks an awful lot like “ropa vieja,” or old clothes. This recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt is a braise built on a braise, and aromatic stewed peppers and onions impart the stock that the meat cooks in with loads of flavor.
Recipe: Ropa Vieja
12. Coconut-Braised Collard Greens
Coconut milk is a great braising base for tough, hearty greens, as Von Diaz demonstrates with this recipe. As they cook, the collards wilt and soak up the subtly sweet liquid, creating something one can describe only as silky.
Recipe: Coconut-Braised Collard Greens
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