Braising is transformative: it turns tougher, cheaper cuts of meat into richly flavorful dishes that rival their more expensive protein brethren. But unlike stewing, which is toss-in-a-pot simple, braising requires a few extra steps, a balance of searing and simultaneous steaming/simmering, before mealtime payoff.

Even some of the masters have had issues with braising. Julia Child’s famous Boeuf Bourguignon calls for cooking at 325°F, perhaps a smidge too high to elicit true fork-tenderness. But the fact is braising needn’t be arduous, or complicated; there are many ways to cut the time involved and the techniques required. So however classically French it may sound (and it is), don’t let braising intimidate. Here are a few steps to get you braising in no time, metaphorically speaking.

Braising image via Shutterstock