Braising (from the French "braiser") is cooking with "moist heat," typically in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid which results in a particular flavor. Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to successfully break down tough connective tissue and collagens in meat. It is an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Stews, and Pot Roasts are both styles of braising.
Most braises follow the same basic steps. The meat or poultry is first browned in hot fat. Aromatic vegetables are sometimes then browned as well. A cooking liquid that often includes an acidic element, such as tomatoes or wine, is added to the pot, which is covered. The dish cooks in relatively low heat in or atop the stove until the meat is fork-tender. Often the cooking liquid is finished to create a sauce or gravy.
1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flour
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock
1 cup of Guinness beer
1 cup of red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups peeled baby carrots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Season and flour the beef and then brown on all sides. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes.
Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.