Braising is a combination of roasting and stewing small joints of meat in a shallow stewpan. 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 always should be lined with slices of bacon, carrot, onions and herbs, upon which the meat is placed. It usually is moistened with stock or stock and wine. The more delicate meats, such as sweetbreads, fillets, fowls and turkeys sometimes are 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.
Poaching and Marinating
Poaching is the name usually given to the process of cooking an article by placing it for a few minutes in boiling water. Marinating or pickling is a process with a formidable name with a simple meaning. To marinate simply is to soak meat in a mixture for some hours, or even days, with the idea of improving its flavor of softening its fibres and making it tender. Vinegar, oil, pepper and salt are mixed together and the meat packed in the mixture; sometimes a sliced onion and herbs are added. The meat, of course, should be wiped first, but not washed.
Cooking in Earthenware
Stone or earthenware cooking appliances are used to very great advantage for various forms of preparing food. For the homely pot-au-feu the French housewife has used fireproof earthenware dishes for generations, and does so today. But besides soups, various savory dishes, and all sorts of stews are cooked in stoneware pots. Indeed, so much has this form of cookery come into fashion that many dishes are sent to table in the pots in which they are cooked. Cooking in stoneware has no equal where slow cooking is aimed at, and there are many dishes which one would do well to refrain from attempting unless cooked in this fashion. These cooking pots are inexpensive, and certain foods taste decidedly better if cooked in this way. For braising, pot roasting, or stewing fruit and other articles which need to be cooked slowly under close cover, the application of a moderate, even heat produces far better results than if quick heat is applied. For such cases the use of earthenware cooking pots is recommended.
Time Table for Cooking