Here in the Scrimp household, we braise meat at least two or three times per week. It is by far our preferred method of cooking. Why? Well, it's easy, it's quick, and it's a great way to make the cheapest cuts of meat taste mind-blowingly good.
Braising is a type of slow-cooking that is best done in the oven but can also be done on a stovetop. All you need is a pot with a good lid. You can even braise in a crock pot, although my experience has been that meat braised in the crock pot does not turn out as well.
The best braising dish is a dutch oven. I have two of them, I swear by them, and I use them for just about everything. One of them is a discontinued Martha Stewart model that I got as a wedding gift, and one of them was a Christmas present last year from Mother-in-law Scrimp--the lovely red Food Network model below.
A dutch oven is made of enameled cast iron. It's heavy. It's a beast. It retains heat beautifully and it turns cheap cuts of meat into magic. If you're going to braise, I recommend getting one, because it just makes life in your kitchen better.
Last night for dinner, I took a $3.99/lb cut of beef and turned it into something that we gladly would have paid ten times more for. And I didn't even need a recipe. All I needed to know was the secret formula of braising.
Are you ready? Here it is.