Braising Brilliance

Last night I did a little braising. I have a feeling braising might mean different things in different parts of the world, as words often do. I am flummoxed by recipes that contain a cup of this and a 1/4 cup of that. I have lots of different sized cups, but clearly America only has one size of cup for everybody.

So by braising I mean putting everything in the pan, covering everything in liquid and leaving it to simmer into deliciousness. This method of cooking has clear advantages- one pan means less washing up, once you have chopped everything up and put it in the pan you don’t have to do anything except wait, you can vary your braising ingredients almost infinitely, ingredients should be chunky so no finesse required.

Last night I decided to keep it pretty simple. Chicken and herbs with some veggies.

Recipe:

3 chicken breasts cut into fairly hefty chunks

Red onion in chunks

4 cloves of garlic sliced

3 tsps. dried oregano

3 tsps. dried basil

4 bay leaves

1 chicken stock cube

Enough water to almost cover the ingredients- if you are feeling decadent then swap some of the water for wine

Vegetables of your choice- I added peas and greens

Method:

Prepare all the ingredients. Put in a large pan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through. You can have this as saucy as you like (Oo! Er!) If you want a dryer recipe then add less water at the start or simmer for longer- the meat won’t dry out as it is poaching itself in liquids and it’s own juices. A soupier type serving will obviously take less time and you could soak up the lovely juices with rice (carby) or cauliflower rice (carby but low calorie, and also paleo). You don’t need to serve it with anything though really, it’s a meal in itself.

Eat.

I told you it was simple. And it is delicious. You don’t need to add any oil because at no point are you frying anything, so it is also pretty low calorie.

Variations:

Use a different meat e.g. pork (change the herbs- fennel seeds go really well with pork, as does sliced fennel and celery).

Instead of onions use leeks.

Different veg. What have you got in the fridge that needs using up? This is a great dish for rescuing veg that might have to be thrown out on the morrow. Stick them in.

Veggie versions: No meat (obvs) and up the veg content- most veg respond well to braising and you can drop them in and walk away. Bulk it up using lentils or chickpeas.

Keeping it paleo- don’t add lentils or peas, only vegetables from the approved list.

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