How to Braise without a Braiser

Le Creuset’s Braiser

As I’ve mentioned before, I love my braiser. In fact, I love it so much that I co-wrote an ebook of fabulous recipes
that star this great pan. The recipes work in any braiser: Le Creuset, Staub, All-Clad, Lodge, you name it.

But readers have been asking me: “Do I have to have a braising pan to make your braiser recipes?”

No you do not. Certainly, I love this pan for all the reasons I outlined here, but if you don’t have a braising pan, there’s definitely a work-around! Read on:

Certainly, I prefer a braiser for gorgeous roasts like my Beef-Coriander Plat Unique (one-dish meal), but you don’t need one to make this beauty.

A deep heavy skillet or a heavy Dutch oven may be used, as long as the pan has a tight-fitting lid, which is key for keeping moisture in (and wet-heat moisture is they key to a great braise). Also, if the recipe calls for oven-baking, make sure both the pan and the lid are ovenproof.*

A few more words of advice if substituting another pan for a braiser:

• If you’re using a large skillet with a lid, make sure the skillet is deep enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably without boiling over.

• If using a Dutch oven, you will most likely need to brown the meat in batches to prevent overcrowding during this process.

• Because a Dutch oven or deep-sided skillet may not have as wide of a base as a braiser, you may need to use less liquid in those pans—generally, the meat should not be fully submerged in the liquid. Adjust the liquid accordingly, and check the liquid’s level now and then through the cooking process to make sure it has not evaporated.

* What if you don’t have a pan that goes from stovetop to oven? Or what if you don’t have a pan with a lid? Here’s the solution: Brown the meat and do all other stove-top prep in a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Then, transfer everything to a large oven-safe glass or ceramic casserole or baking dish with an oven-safe tight-fitting lid and bake as directed.

What? You don’t even have a casserole or baking dish? Go shopping. Or, in a true pinch (and yes, I’ve done this, back in the day), transfer the stovetop-prepped ingredients to a 13 x 9 baking pan and cover it very tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. You may need to add just a touch more liquid, as it will be quite spread out. And check occasionally during baking to make sure there’s still liquid in the pan as the meat cooks.

So, yes, you can still enjoy the gorgeous braising recipes in The Braiser Cookook(and the ones on the site) without owning a braiser.

However, if you are interested in purchasing a braiser, read my braiser reviews:

Review of the Lodge Braiser: The least-expensive enameled cast-iron braiser on the market, this is a great “starter braiser.”
Review of the All-Clad Braiser: This stainless steel braiser browns beautifully!


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3 comments to How to Braise without a Braiser

  • I would love to have a beautiful braiser like this! I use a Le Creuset pot that is neither a braiser nor a Dutch oven … I can’t be sure what to call it, but is deeper than a braiser and the sides are more rounded that a Dutch oven. My Dutch oven is also gets lots of use in the oven. It is stainless steel and the handles are heat-proof to 500-degrees or something crazy like that. I also have and use quite a lot is a stoneware baker “bowl” (from Pampered Chef) with a stoneware quiche turned upside down on top as the lid. It works so well to roast a chicken or make a beef stew and browns it beautifully.

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