WHEN BRAISING MAKE SURE YOUR TEMPERATURE IS LOW ENOUGH
Braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared and then seared in liquid on low heat in a pot. This method is usually reserved for the tougher cuts of meat. The tough fibers and connective tissue break down into collagen which then dissolves into gelatin. Over time, these fibers expel moisture leaving the meat dry. Once the meat is dry, upon continued cooking, the fibers will relax and begin to absorb the fat and gelatin creating tender flavorful meat.
Many use their slow-cookers for this method, but continue to produce subpar meals of stringy tough meat. The optimal temperature when cooking low and slow should be between 131 and 149 degrees and most slow cookers do not go that low. Your best option is to cook in a Dutch oven on top of the stove on a very low simmer or if you have an oven that maintains temperatures between 131 and 149, cook your meal several hours in a Dutch oven inside the stove.
If cooking low and slow, I find that if I allow the mixture to cool, then place it in the refrigerator overnight that the meat continues to relax and that my meal will be even better the next day.
Check out my Moroccan Stew (pictured recipe)!