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Browning Meat For Stews

Asked by jack2k6. Answered on 4th May 2016

Full question

Hi, when making a stew is it best to brown the meat first? When Nigella makes her Greek Lamb Stew she sears the meat but in Simply Nigella She doesn't brown the meat for the Slow Cooker Beef And Guinness Stew. So is browning required?

Our answer

Browning cubes of meat before stewing them can add some colour and flavour to a stew. However it needs to be done at a fairly high heat and the meat needs to be browned in small batches. If the meat it too tightly packed in the pan then juices run out and start to steam the meat rather than browning it. The pan also needs to be watched to make sure that the meat is browned but not scorched, so it can be quite a time-consuming process.

If the stew has a dark, rich sauce then this browning step is not always necessary and so Nigella does not brown meat in all of her recipes. In addition the Slow Cooker Beef And Guinness Stew With Prunes And Black Treacle (from SIMPLY NIGELLA) is an easy no-fuss slow cooker recipe and browning the meat does not make a particular difference to the finished dish. The stew can also be cooked in a low oven and again browning the meat is not necessary.

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