Main Difference – Braising vs Stewing
Moist heat cooking is a method of cooking using liquid or stream. This method is specially used for softening tough fibers. This cooking method uses a relatively low temperature than that used in dry heat method. Poaching, boiling, steaming, braising and stewing are some common examples of moist heat cooking methods. In this article, we are focusing our attention on the methods of braising and stewing, particularly the difference between braising and stewing. The main difference between braising and stewing is that braising is used to cook larger cuts of meat and vegetables whereas stewing is used for smaller and even cuts of meat and vegetables.
What is Braising
As explained above, braising is a moist heat cooking technique. This means that the food is cooked using a liquid. Braising can cook large cuts of meat or vegetables. In the braising method, only a small amount of liquid is used, and the liquid should partially cover the food. Some recipes of braises require the meat or vegetable to be lightly browned before adding the liquid.
After the liquid is added, the dish is covered and cooked at a low simmer. Since the moist heat method uses a low temperature, the food is cooked for a long time. Heat, moisture, and time play an important role in softening the meat or vegetables. Braising is an ideal way for cooking tough meat such as game birds and poultry. A well-cooked braise intermingles the flavor of the liquid and the foods that are being cooked.
What is Stewing
Stewing also refers to a method of slow cooking using a liquid. Stewing is generally used for tougher meats that require slow cooking. The meat is cut into even pieces and fully covered by liquid. Water, stock, wine, beer are some common liquids used as the stew-cooking liquid. Flavorings and seasonings can also be added to this mixture. After immersing the food to be cooked fully in the liquid, the dish is covered and left to cook at a very slow simmer. Tough cuts of meat become tender and juicy with this slow, moist heat method.
Stews are a mixture of gravy and broth. This is due to the amount to liquid used in stewing. If it is well cooked, it gives out the flavors of the liquid as well as the meat.
Difference Between Braising and Stewing
Braising uses liquid to partially cover the food.
Stewing uses liquid to cover the food totally.
Braising cooks large cuts of meat and vegetables.
Stewing cooks smaller and uniform cuts of meat and vegetables
In braising the liquid can be added after browning the cut.
In stewing, the cuts are not browned.
Braising results in less gravy.
Stewing results in more gravy.
“Braised pork spare ribs with preserved mustard greens” by Alpha – originally posted to Flickr as 梅菜排骨 Julia’s Dad Braised Pork Spare Ribs with Preserved Mustard Greens (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia