Braising is but a more expensive mode of stewing meat. The following French recipe will explain the process. We would observe, however, that the layers of beef or veal, in which the joint to be braised is imbedded, can afterwards be converted into excellent soup, gravy, or glaze; and that there need, in consequence, be no waste, nor any unreasonable degree of expense attending it; but it is a troublesome process, and quite as good a result may be obtained by simmering the meat in very strong gravy. Should the flavour of the bacon be considered an advantage, slices of it can bo laid over the article braised, and secured to it with a fillet of tape. "To braise the inside (or small fillet, as it is called in France) of a sirloin of beef: Raise the fillet clean from the joint; and with a sharp knife strip off all the skin, leaving the surface of the meat as smooth as possible; have ready some strips of unsmoked bacon, half as thick as your little finger, roll them in a mixture of thyme finely minced, spices in powder, and a little pepper and salt. Lard the fillet quite through with these, and tie it round with tape in any shape you choose.
Line the bottom of a stewpan (or braising-pan) with slices of bacon; next put in a layer of beef, or veal, four onions, two bay-leaves, two carrots, and a bunch of sweet herbs, and place the fillet on them. Cover it with slices of bacon, put some trimmings of meat all round it, and pour on to it half a pint of good bouillon or gravy. Let it stew as gently as possible for two hours and a half; take it up, and keep it very hot; strain, and reduce the gravy by quick boiling until it is thick enough to glaze with; brush the meat over with it; put the rest in the dish with the fillet, after the tape has been removed from it, and send it directly to table."
Equal parts of Madeira and gravy are sometimes used to moisten the meat.
No attempt should be made to braise a joint in any vessel that is not very nearly of its own size.
A round of buttered paper is generally put over the more delicate kinds of braised meat, to prevent their being browned by the fire, which in France is put round the lid of the braising-pan, in a groove made on purpose to contain it. The embers of a wood fire mixed with the hot ashes are best adapted to sustain the regular, but gentle degree of heat required for this mode of cooking.
The pan shown at the head of this section, with a closely fitting copper tray, serving for the cover, is used commonly in England for braising; but a stewpan of modern form, or any other vessel which will admit of embers being placed upon the lid, will answer for the purpose as well.
Common cooks sometimes stew meat in a mixture of butter and water, and call it braising.