Meat is usually the most expensive part of your daily meals. DID YOU KNOW?... the USDA grades meat into three categories; Prime, choice & select ? Prime has the most marbling and is the most expensive while select is the leanest & the most economical. The absence of fat makes it tougher but knowing how to cook it can make it tender and flavorful. Buy select cuts of meat and try marinating or braising. Fall is the perfect time for braising as "comfort food" replaces grilling and outdoor entertaining. Get out your "crock pot" or oven roaster and try this;
The best cuts for braising are cuts, such as those from the shoulder, leg or rump of the animal, as well as ones that contain a lot of connective tissue, like the chuck, shank, brisket and oxtail.
Preheat your oven to 300░F or set your slow cooker on appropriate setting for the length of time needed.
Pat the meat dry with paper towels. This will help you get a nice browning on the meat in the next step. Trim off any excess fat.
Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof braising pan over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the meat. Brown the meat for a minute or two on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add vegetables such as chopped onions, leeks, carrots, potatoes, celery and of course a few cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed. Sauté briefly.
Deglaze the pan with a liquid, such as stock, broth, beer or wine. (I like wine) Scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. This liquid will add flavor to the braise. The long, slow, moist heat of braising is the best way to soften tough cuts of meat.
Return the meat to the pot along with some sort of acidic ingredient like diced canned tomatoes. The acid helps break down the tough connective tissues in the meat. If you used wine to deglaze, that will work but tomatoes are always a nice ingredient to add anyway.