A tight-fitting lid is an essential component when we're cooking long, slow braises that need a consistent temperature and a lot of moisture in order to cook properly. But if you're anything like us, your lids might not be fitting quite as tightly as they once did before years of getting crammed into moving boxes, dropped on floors, and wedged into dishwashers.
A simple industry trick is an inverted lid of aluminum foil. First, cook your braise up to the point at which it needs to be covered and simmered. Next, cut a circle of parchment paper and set it over the top of your braise. This parchment paper will keep any acids in your braise from reacting with the foil.
Then, tear off a large piece of aluminum foil and tuck it snugly over your braise, pressing it around the sides of the meat, right up against the top of the veggies and liquid, and back up the sides of the pan. You should have enough foil so that some some is left hanging over the edge of the pan (use two overlapping sheets if you need to).
Finally, cover with your dinged-up lid and cook as normal.
This method also works wonders if you've lost the original lid and are borrowing from another pot or even if you've managed to keep your lids in pristine condition.
Here are some related links on braising:
Book Review: Braise by Daniel Boulud
Word of Mouth: Braise
Dutch Oven Round Up
Food Science: Why Tougher Meats Make Good Braises
This is by Emma, who is up for one of our new writer positions. Welcome Emma!