A braiser seems like an unnecessary piece of cast iron cookware. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and we know French braising techniques influencing British and the New World from the cookery books and household management books of the 19th century. But what are braisers used for in today’s meal prep? And what do you cook in a braising pan?
In this article, I will cover how the design of the modern braiser is suited to today’s cooking needs. How people used braising pans in the 19th century, and how we can use them today. I’ll also give you some popular foods you may want to cook in your cast iron braiser.
But if you’re not sure what a braiser does or how they look. Then this article will be helpful.
Table of contents
- Braising in the 19th century
- Cooking methods you can use your brasier
- Traditional foods you braise
- Dutch oven meals you can cook in your braiser
- The food you can cook in a skillet and also a braiser
- Can you cook rice in a braiser?
- Use your braising pan as a roasting dish
- Closing remarks
Early French Braising
We differently eat different foods today. Back in the 19th century, when food was more scarce, there was a nose-to-tail approach. Meaning a lot more of the animal was used in dishes. French-inspired dishes may use the following meats:
And particularly in American cookbooks, you may come across recipes for braising turkey. Although we seldom eat foods such as sweetbread in British and American cooking. But nothing is stopping you from trying it in your braising pan. Why not give it ago?
For the upper-classes, a wider variety of meats were available and braised. These meats include:
What are braisers used for?
Today cast iron manufacturers such as Le Creuset and Staub design their braisers for modern kitchens. There is a strong emphasis on ergonomics as well as functionality on modern cookers.
As a result, you can use a braiser on the stovetop and in the oven. And with wide handles, it will be easier to carry compared to a Dutch oven or skillet.
The design and usability of braisers for both oven and stovetop cooking allow for various cooking methods that include the following:
- Shallow Frying
Unlike a traditional braiser, the modern brasier is shallow and wide. And it opens up other dishes you would usually cook in other cookware such as Dutch Ovens, skillets, and roasting dishes.
To give you an idea of what you can cook in a braiser, I have listed the meals usually associated with the following:
- Dutch Ovens
- Roasting pans
What do you cook in a braiser?
Here are a few meals you usually associate with the use of braising pans:
- Lamb Shanks
- Braised Beef
- Rump Steak
- Short Ribs (Beef)
- Spare Ribs (Pork)
Meals you usually cook in a Dutch oven but can also cook in a braiser.
Yes, you can use your Dutch oven to braise food. But you can also use your braiser instead of a Dutch oven. Your braiser is simply a shallow version of a Dutch oven, and it may have a domed lid to increase height.
If you want to learn the differences between Dutch ovens and braisers, click the link for an in-house article. Otherwise, here are a few traditional Dutch oven foods you can cook with a braiser.
- Oxtail Soup
- Beef Stew
- Mac and Cheese
- Pulled Pork
- Baked Beans
The food you usually cook in a skillet but can also cook in a brasier.
What can you cook in a braiser? Well, if you can cook it in a skillet, you can likely use a braising pan. Modern braisers have low sidewalls compared to Dutch Ovens. And therefore make suitable alternatives to a cast-iron skillet.
So the same meal you can prepare in a skillet, you can cook in a brasier. Here are examples of popular skillet dishes you can prepare in your cast-iron braiser/casserole pan.
- English Breakfast
- Pork Chops
- Pan-Fried Fish
- Steamed Vegetables
But do you want to know the differences between skillets and braisers, and how each excels? Click the link if you want to learn more.
Question: can you cook rice make a braiser?
Yes, using cast iron cookware was a popular way of cooking rice in Japan before the invention of the electric rice cooker. So your cast iron braiser will be up to the task. However, in Asian countries, the rice-to-water ratio is approximated to avoid rice becoming watery. Therefore straining is often unneeded.
If you add more water than required, you’ll need to strain your rice into a strainer or colander. Draining the rice will be challenging as you’ll need both hands to lift the braiser. And you’ll likely need a rice colander/strainer that sits flat in your sink.
Use your braiser as a roasting pan.
You can also use your braiser for roasting. The sidewalls on a braiser are high enough the contain oil and juices. While low enough to allow good airflow so your roast potatoes will be nice and crispy.
You can’t cook a large turkey in a small braiser. But you should be able to roast most of your meals in a medium-size braiser. Here’s are a few examples:
- Pork Shoulder
- Beef Roast
- Beef Wellington
Although you can widen the food, you can cook if you purchase a large braiser. But I still recommend choosing a size of braiser suitable for your requirements. It makes using cast iron a lot more fun if it’s easy to move and clean.
Here is an in-house article on how to select the best size. Click the link to learn more.
As you have read, the meal options that you can cook in a braiser are almost limitless. Braisers are suitable for use in the oven and on most cooktops. So go ahead, use your braiser the same way you would use a skillet or Dutch oven.
If you need a braiser, manufacturers such as Le Creuset and Staub make quality braisers in various sizes, and lodge makes good budget-friendly options.
If you are still wondering if buying a braiser is the right choice, here’s is another article you might find interesting.
Otherwise, have fun using your braiser.