The Art of Low and Slow: Mastering the Techniques of Braising and Stewing for Mouth-Watering Meals

Braising and stewing are some of my favorite ways to cook. A low and slow approach allows flavors to meld, tough cuts of meat turn unbelievably tender, and sauces to thicken.

There is no better way to be greeted than walking in on the intoxicating aroma of a braise or stew on the autumn air.

Bonus: It makes your home super cozy too.

First of all, what is the difference between braising and stewing?


  • Large or tougher cuts of meats
  • Cooking liquid served as a separate sauce
  • Longer simmer times (4+ hours)
    • Chicken Cacciatore
    • Osso Bucco
    • Carnitas
    • Short Ribs
    • Stuffed Cabbage
    • Rabbit


  • Smaller, pieces of meat and vegetables
  • Shorter simmering time (2-3 hours)
  • Served with the cooking liquid (almost like a thicker soup)
    • Curry
    • Gumbo
    • Beef Burgandy
    • Coq Au Vin

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What do you need?


  • Large, tough cuts of meat, mature poultry and game (cut smaller for stewing)
  • Sturdy vegetables like cabbages, carrots and leeks
  • Spices/Herbs of Choice
  • Liquid (stock or water)
  • Thickener of Choice


  • Heavy bottom pan with a lid like a Dutch oven or rondeau
  • Fine mesh sieve
  • Small bowl for slurry, if applicable
  • Sturdy stirring utensil, like a wooden or metal spoon
  • Ladle
Close up of a purple dutch oven filled with a large, seared pork shoulder, a lemon wedge, herbs, fennel and broth before braising in the oven for several hours.
A 5.5# pork shoulder in a purple dutch oven

The plan of A-snack

(a-snack…attack, get it?)

Braising and stewing use the same techniques for different size ingredients. Adjust your timing based on the size of your ingredients.



Searing provides color and flavor to the finished dish!

Preheat your pan over med-high heat. Once it is hot add your oil .

**DON’T add your oil when you put the pan on the stove. This allows your oil to get too hot and burn before the cooking process is over.

If you don’t hear a sizzle when you add the food in then your pan is not hot enough. Remove the food and wait for the pan to heat up. Do not leave the food in the pan, this will result in overcooked/steamed meat not the dark golden brown crust we are after!


Saute Your Veg

In the same pot add your vegetables and saute them until they begin to soften and take on a little bit of color

Remember all of the carmelization that happens adds flavor.

Pay attention to the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (fond) so that they do not burn. Adjust your heat accordingly.


Deglaze & Add Flavorful Liquid

Pour stock, wine, water or citrus juice into the hot pan and scrape the bottom of the pan until all of the brown bits get lifted up!

Fond = flavor!

It will make for a rich and unctuous cooking liquid and final sauce or broth.

Add the rest of your liquid to cover 2/3-3/4 of your protein and other ingredients depending on the size of your protein and pot! Water works just fine but stock will provide you with extra flavor.



(If you are braising, strain first, then thicken.)

Add a thickener and simmer until the jus reaches the correct thickness.

  • Roux (cooked flour and fat) can add at the beginning or the end
  • Slurry (corn starch or arrow root mixed with cold water and added then allowed to boil to thicken
  • Dredge proteins before sear phase – lightly cover your proteins in flour or cornstarch and then sear – this means your sauce will thicken while it simmers

**a full article about thickeners coming soon**

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