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Comfort Cooking

Comfort Cooking
When vine-ripened tomatoes are but a distant memory, it's time to turn your thoughts to slow cooking. Using a technique called braising, you'll be rewarded with hearty, full-flavored dishes that nourish the body and nurture the soul. This is comfort food at its best—perfect sustenance for cold days.

With braising, food is typically browned and then gently simmered in aromatic liquid, such as broth or wine, along with onions, herbs and other seasonings. It's ideal for tougher cuts of meat, such as lamb shanks and rump roast, and fibrous vegetables, such as fennel and leeks. Meats emerge fork tender and vegetables, silky smooth.

Braised foods taste even better the next day because the flavors have had an opportunity to meld and intensify. This makes them ideal for entertaining because you can do most of the work in advance. And they're simple to prepare. Once you've combined the ingredients in a pot or slow cooker, just let the food simmer on its own while you savor the enticing aromas that permeate the kitchen.