When browning meat for braise-based dish.. you can hear the hysterical voice in your head screaming "Don't crowd the pot!!! Your meat will just steam!!". But for a long/ slow braise type meal.. is it really that much of a problem? YES it's going to take a lot longer to get the oil / meat to a browning temperature but it's going to get there eventually. And yes that means it had to cook a lot longer and lose a lot more moisture to get there.. but it's going to stew for hours afterwards. What's the science at play here?
2nd question: How do folks like to get the thickening into their stew? A few options: 1) flour the heck out of your meat before braising and this residual flour will act as a thickener 2) add a roux later 3) add cornstarch later 4) your potatoes will lose enough starch that they will thicken
Option 1 seems problematic in that it may not be enough flour AND the flour will be cooking for so long it's going to lose a lot of the thickening properties. Option 2 is good but adds a lot of fat to an already fatty dish. Option 3 is easy but the texture is not a great one for me. Also makes reheating dicey as it'll break if not done right. Option 4 is a wildcard- not sure if that would work or not.
Other thoughts or convincing arguments for any of the options above?