The process of braising calls for cooking relatively large pieces of meat (and sometimes vegetables) in some amount of seasoned liquid. In a classic braise, the cook will first sear the meat in butter or oil at a high temperature to brown the surface, increasing flavor. The next step is to pour enough liquid (wine, stock, tomato juice) into the pot to cover half to two-thirds of the meat. The cook often adds aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, shallots and diced bell peppers. The mixture then slow cooks in a covered pot at relatively low heat. Electric slow cookers work well for braising, as do heavy Dutch ovens.
The slow braising process breaks down the collagen of the meat into gelatin, which itself mingles with the meat juices, aromatics, and braising liquid to form a flavorful sauce. Like stewing, the braising process allows the cook to get the most out of cheaper cuts of meat. Bones themselves add flavor to the mix, making a veal or lamb shank an ideal piece of meat to braise. If adding whole vegetables to the pot, it is best to put them in later in the process since they tend to cook faster than meats. Firm, low-moisture-content vegetables braise well on their own: carrots, squash, beets, onions, cabbage, broccoli, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.
Classic braised dishes include pot roast, chicken cacciatore, Swiss steak, coq au vin, and sauerbraten.