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How to Dry and Brown Meat

If you’ve seen the recent Meryl Streep movie, Julie & Julia, which explores the recipes of Julia Child, you’ll be familiar with the importance of drying your meat before cooking it, and also about browning your meat. Recipes like casseroles and some roasts call for meat to be browned; do it well and your dish will not only have good colour it will have great flavour too.

  • Make sure the meat is dry before you begin.
  • The meat may be a little damp or even wet if it has been frozen, so pat it dry with absorbent paper.
  • Some recipes call for the meat to be dusted with seasoned flour before browning – this helps create a browned crust on the meat – if so dust the meat with flour once it is dry.
  • Coat the meat with oil rather than adding it to the pan. This reduces the amount of oil you need and helps the meat brown well.
  • Heat the pan before you add the meat. Note: If the meat has been dusted with flour, add the oil to the pan.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan – brown the meat in small batches.
  • When you’re browning meat cubes for a casserole brown the meat in small batches, about 250g per batch.
  • Keep the pan at medium-high heat. This helps the meat brown evenly rather than stew or burn in the pan. The pan needs to be hot enough for the meat to sizzle but not so hot that it scorches and burns bits of the meat or results in a blackened pan which will give a burnt taste to the dish.

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