Braising vs Stewing
Braising and stewing are terms that are used very commonly in cookery classes and even in daily cooking by those who love to prepare dishes through slow cooking. Usually one can prepare food by dry heating, moist heating, or by a combination heating method. Choosing the right heating method ensures the kind of flavors one is looking in his food along with the texture and the appearance of the final dish. Both braising and stewing apply the technique of moist heating along with dry heating making them combination heating methods that take a lot of time but break down the meats to increase the flavors in the final recipe. Many people think that braising and stewing are same processes, but there are subtle differences between the two that will be highlighted in this article.
Braising is a method of cooking that requires providing slow and low heat to the recipe that is made up of large cuts of meats. The meat or vegetable is browned in fat and then allowed to simmer for a long time in a liquid while being covered with a lid inside a pot. Braising can be done in a crock pot or a pressure cooker. Braising allows cooking of large pieces of meat or beef that is hard to cook through dry heat as the pieces become hard and often get burnt. With braising, the connective tissues of the meat become soft and tender and the pieces become full of flavor rather than getting burnt. Braising allows saving by cooking inexpensive large pieces, but it also produces tasty dishes that are full of flavors. One great feature of braising is that once you have browned the meat, you cover the pot and leave it to simmer in the liquid and have no fears of the dish getting burnt as it is getting cooked on low heat.
Stewing is another method of slow cooking that allows cooking of less tender pieces of meat through simmering in a bit of liquid until it becomes tender and full of flavors. Stewing is a great method to cook meats and vegetables as one can leave the dish and attend to other jobs while the food is cooked slowly. The gravy gets thickened and can be served along with the vegetable or meat. Stewing allows food items that can be eaten with rice or with bread as there is a thick and creamy base along with the meat. This method of slow cooking allows for cooking of large pieces of meat that become full of flavors and can be refrigerated for later use. There are some who feel that stews taste great as their flavor improves with every reheating.
What is the difference between Braising and Stewing?
• Though both braising and stewing are slow cooking methods that make use of moist heat and dry heat in combination, braising is done in less amount of liquid and involves cooking large and not uniform pieces of meat or vegetables.
• On the other hand, stewing involves using enough liquid to immerse meat pieces inside, and the pieces are also small and uniform sized.
• Braising makes use of somewhat better cuts of meat and, in most cases, it involves a whole cut whereas stewing requires small pieces and not a whole cut.