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Old 08-30-2006, 09:02 PM   #1
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Why brown certain meats

I've noticed in certain recipes such as for cooking a pot roast they tell you to brown the meat first then go on to however it should be cooked. Does this do anything specifically, the browning, like locking in flavor or is it to just give a color and look to the outside of the meat?



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Old 08-30-2006, 09:11 PM   #2
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One word...flavor. Browning gives meat that great crust that tastes so good.

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Old 08-30-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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The browning, known as the Maillard reaction, is a very important to flavor and appearance.

The browning causes a chemical change at the surface of the meat that creates new flavors that would otherwise be absent. In addition to browning the meat, it is key to include the brown bits stuck to the pan (fond) in the recipe. If you brown the meat in the pot you where you will be doing the remainder of the cooking, you're all set. If you brown in a separate vessel, deglaze the pan by adding a little of the cooking liquid to be used in the remainder of the cooking to the hot pan and scraping the bottom to dissolve the fond. Add this to the main dish.
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:46 AM   #4
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It's hard to add anything to two correct answers!

But, GB and Andy didn't mention this old myth so I'll bring it up ... searing the meat does NOT seal in juices and make the meat moister. It actually does the opposite ... probably only important for something like a steak .... a pot roast or stew meat will cook long enough in a moist environment to reabsorb the moisture. Like they both said - the reason for searing is for the added flavor!

Irish stew is "traditionally" made without browning the lamb (known as a white stew - from the French term à blanc - the meat is not browned) but I generally commit the heretical sin of browning it for the added flavor.
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