3 Cozy Braises That Don’t Take Forever—Or Even an Hour

Autumn is just around the corner and while many people are enthusiastic about pumpkin flavors, apple picking and crispy leaves, I’m just thrilled that it’s time to braise again. You see, slowly boiling a protein in a tangy sauce, letting it soak up flavor until it crumbles, delicate perfection is my idea of ​​culinary heaven. I like cooking so much that when I take a bath, I like to imagine that I am a piece of rib that is nice and fluffy with a generous dash of red wine. (Too personal?)

I love stewing because it’s pretty much foolproof. There’s no pricking chicken breast with meat thermometers, no stress about whether the vegetables will be spicy enough, and – once my leftovers are stowed in the fridge – there is usually only one pot that I have to take care of cleaning. And stews are the epitome of comfort food – think tender oxtails, the juiciest chicken wings, and coconut carrots with an incredible taste. It’s pretty much universal: giving the ingredients enough time to mix together almost guarantees a delicious result.

Of course, that time demand can be a pretty serious barrier to stewing every night. Many braised recipes can stretch into the hours, and while most of the time is usually spent waiting, I’m not always ready to have dinner at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday. So when a new series of braised recipes for the week was published in our September issue, my excitement hit an all-time high. This fall, I’m tired of choosing between impatience and perfection. Catch me stewing my nights with these recipes, all of which take an hour or less.

Spicy braised tofu

This reef on Korean Dubu Jorim by Senior Food Editor Christina Chaey is by far the fastest. Fried tofu gets a massive flavor boost from quick simmering in a bath of soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and gochugaru, creating something truly wonderful in about half an hour. Be sure to use extra firm tofu so it doesn’t fall apart and press it well to remove excess moisture before browning. (You can do this with a couple of metal sheets, but a Tofu Press takes the hard work out of the process.) That also means more space to absorb flavor from the sauce and less stress from a shaky mess.

Spicy braised tofu

You can find a version of this quick-cooked dish than a banchan or small plate on many Korean tables. But with rice and a side dish of green, dinner is exactly when you need it: now.

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Week night ragu

Not your Nonna’s ragu – like the kind that simmer on the stove for hours while the family helps her roll out fresh pasta by hand –This sauce leads to a shortcut to Tendertown by using ground beef instead of large pieces. It also uses double concentrated tomato paste to make a thick sauce in a fraction of the time. Finishing al dente pasta in the sauce is almost always a good decision, and with recipes like this it’s a breeze – two minutes in the ragu and your pasta is extra tasty and ready to serve straight out of the pot.

Ragu recipe for the week

Rag. during the week

If you want the convenience of a meaty all-day rag but don’t have all day to cook one, reach for this faster version.

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Spiced tomato braised fish

Cooking whitefish like cod or haddock to tender, flaky perfection is known to be a quick affair, so tender fillets are perfect candidates for braising during the week. “Since fish cooks relatively quickly, the challenge is to pack it with a lot of flavor without overcooking it,” says Rachel Gurjar, assistant food editor. The solution is to fill the pot with sweet tomato puree, whole spices like cumin and cinnamon sticks, and a healthy scoop of garam masala. Rachel recommends serving with large chunks of crispy, deep-fried sourdough, but any starch or grain you have on hand will soak up all of that flavoring well.

Recipe for braised fish with spiced tomatoes

Spiced tomato braised fish

Store-bought tomato puree cooked with lots of warm spices like cumin and garam masala adds tons of flavor to this simple fish curry.

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