Braised pork is pork prepared through the cooking method of braising. In essence, braising is a combination cooking technique which uses both moist cooking and dry heat techniques. Pork prepared through the method of braising is considered to be healthy and more flavorsome than the fried or baked meat alone. Pork belly, shanks and shoulder are some of the most commonly braised meat.
When braised properly, the meat is always soft and rich, but incorrectly cooked meat is chewy and tasteless. The method is, therefore, considered slightly difficult by some. This has, however, not affected the popularity of the dish or the preparation method. Pork that has been cooked through the method of braising is not only a popular food item on menus of cafes, eateries and restaurants almost everywhere in the world, but a common household preparation as well.
Common Ingredients Used For Preparing Braised Pork
Pork (belly, shoulder, shanks or meat of choice), vegetables, flour, oil, stock, herbs and spices are the most commonly used traditional ingredients to make braised pork. Carrot, onion, celery and garlic are the commonly used vegetables. Garnish and seasoning agents depend on individual preferences.
Over the years, the dish has evolved, and today, there are various different recipes to make it. Mostly, however, the recipes consist of the traditional ingredients with distinct vegetables. Different herbs and spices are added to make the preparation richer and more flavorsome.
How to Braise Pork ?
Braising pork is often categorized as a 'moderately-difficult' process as it can often be tricky. It usually takes about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to prepare pork by the method of braising.
To make braised pork, the meat is first added to a very hot and oiled pan and smeared to brown its surface. This also enhances the flavor. The browned meat is then put in the braising pan, along with the vegetables (chopped, diced, slices, etc., beforehand), stock and wine and cooked for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours. The meat must be submerged in the liquid at all times.
Although slow-cooking was the preferred method of traditional chefs, modern equipment has made cooking faster and most chefs in today's times prefer to adopt quicker methods to cook the pork and braise it.
Serving and Eating Braised Pork
Once braised and cooked, the pork is served hot, mostly on a bed of cooked rice. Cilantro and/or coriander are used as garnish. While the preparation is mostly served as a main dinner dish and eaten by itself, it can also be a part of a more elaborate lunch or dinner meal, or even served as an appetizer. The dish is sometimes surrounded with hard-boiled eggs and broccoli and then served. Bread, cheese, sauces (made from preferred ingredients) and green salad are common accompaniments to braised pork.