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Braising - Vintage Cooking Process

Braising is a combination of roasting and stewing small joints of meat in a shallow stew pan.  it is a favorite method of cooking with the French, and is supposed to bring out an unusually fine flavor and aroma.

The pan in which a braise is to be made should always be lined with slices of bacon carrot, onions and herbs, upon which the meat is placed.  It is usually moistened with stock or stock and wine. 

Delicate Meats

The more delicate meats, such as sweetbreads, fillets, fowls and turkeys are sometimes covered with buttered paper; this is done to prevent the heat from the top of the pan scorching or imparting too much of a roast flavor to the meats which are to be braised.

Occasional basting during the process of this method of cooking is essential. When done, the meat is taken up, the fat removed from the vegetables and gravy, which latter is then reduced, strained and blended with some kind of gravy or thin sauce.

Table Talk: The American Authority upon Culinary Topics and Fashions of the Table, Vol. XXVII, 1912, A Series of Articles Published Throughout the Year. Published Monthly by The Arthur H. Crist Co., Cooperstown, NY. A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of American Housewives, Having special reference to the Improvement of the Table.  Marion Harris Neil, Editor.

Braising is stewing and baking (meat). Meat to be braised is frequently first sautéd to prevent escape of much juice in the gravy. The meat is placed in a pan with a small quantity of stock or water, vegetables (carrot, turnip, celery, and union) cut in pieces, salt, pepper, and sweet herbs.

The Braising Process

The pan should have a tight-fitting cover. Meat so prepared should be cooked in an oven at low uniform temperature for a long time. This is an economical way of cooking, and the only way besides stewing or boiling of making a large piece of tough meat palatable and digestible.

Fannie Merritt Farmer, The Boston Cooking-school Cook Book, Revised Edition, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company (1912), p. 22

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