This post is a part of Heinen’s Kitchen Tips and Techniques series designed to give everyone the skills and confidence they need to make any recipe. Videos, photographs and descriptions were provided by Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi.
Today I’m going to show you one of my absolute favorite cooking techniques of all time: how to properly braise. It is super easy to do and it’s going to greatly enhance everything that you cook.
The art of braising is basically the slow cooker before the slow cooker was the slow cooker. You can braise meat, you can braise chicken, you can braise pork and you can even braise vegetables. The concept is a quick sauté, add in some liquid, put a lid on it and slow cook it until it’s nice and tender. It’s super simple!
So, for today, I’m going to do a pot roast.
How to Braise a Pot Roast
- Select a large piece of meat, like a top round roast. Season it on all sides with salt and pepper. You will season the same way if you choose to use chicken or pork.
- Move over to your cooktop and add oil to a large pot or Dutch oven with a secure lid. Once the oil reaches a low smoking point, add the roast and cook on all sides until it is golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Once you have reached the perfect sear on all sides, remove the roast from the cooktop and set it aside.
- In the same pot or Dutch oven, add chopped celery, onions, carrots and garlic. Vegetables are almost always used as an aromatic to help season and flavor the pot roast. Yes, you can eat them, they simply might be a bit soft at the end, but that’s okay. You can also use vegetables like turnips parsnips or any other root vegetable.
- Once the vegetables have sautéed for 3 to 4 minutes to activate the flavors, add some beef stock. If you’re using chicken or pork, feel free to add in chicken stock instead. Be sure to season it very well because this liquid is going to further season the roast over the duration of the cooking period, making it extremely flavorful. Feel free to give it a taste to make sure you’ve seasoned it enough.
- Add your pot roast back into the pot or Dutch oven with the vegetables and beef stock and put the lid on. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook the 4-pound pot roast for 2.5 to 3 hours.*
- Once the roast is done cooking, take the lid off, and remove the pot from the cooktop. Plate the roast and veggies in a cassoulet dish, or dish of your choice and enjoy.
*I like my pot roast to be almost like shredded beef or barbacoa. If you prefer yours to be medium to medium-well, you’re not going to cook it for very long. It can also go in the oven if you want to cook it for long periods of time. I prefer to do it right on the cooktop so that I can completely control the temperature with my hand.
That’s all there is to it! I promise, once you perfect this technique, it will be your absolute favorite new way to cook. No need for a slow cooker because it’s all about the braise.