I've been working on improving my mediocre beef stew based on tips I found on this board. One tip that I read was that you needed to brown the meat really well and cook in the oven at 350 instead of the crock pot -- the high heat will give you those good Maillard reactions that make it taste good. And I must say it's working -- the flavor sure has gone up a notch -- but now that I'm browning my meat really well and cooking it in the oven instead of the crock pot, I'm ending up with tough meat. Not really surprising, but I don't want to back off on the browning because it makes it taste so good!
I use chuck meat because it has good marbling which I know contributes to good flavor. But I also know it's a tough meat and needs slow cooking to tenderize it. Is it just the wrong cut to use if I want to get any Maillard reactions at all? Or can I get it to be tender if I brown it but then slow cook it afterwards? Help!