Call it by any name: tajine, casserole, cassoulet, ragout, pot and shepherd’s pie, carbonnade flamande. Technically, stewing is a kind of braise—where the heat comes from the bottom—and a casserole is cooked, covered, in the oven, surrounded by heat. But the basic principle is the same: s-l-o-w. World cuisines use a number of different utensils to achieve the same kind of tender, melded comfort food.

Braising Basics

Braising is a cooking method that combines dry and moist heat. First, sear or brown the food fast at a high temperature, then slowly cook it, covered and in liquid, at a lower heat. Braising gets great flavor out of cheaper ingredients like older chickens and tougher beef cuts; and you can cook pretty much a whole meal in one pot. To braise seafood, skip the dry heat step—it will just toughen the fish. Instead, prepare the base—vegetables and liquid—first, then cook the seafood in the mixture. Key to any long and slow-cooked dish are what the French call aromatic vegetables—onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, fennel, celery and peppers—chopped finely (then it’s a mirepoix) or coarsely sautéed or sweated before being simmered with the meat.

Glazed Terra Cotta Tagine:
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Le Creuset Enamelled Stewpot
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Schlemmertopf Clay Cooker
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