Home Cooking 7

Browning beef without burning the fond?

seamunky | Oct 19, 201104:31 PM


I like to make a lot of stews and braised dishes which usually start with browning the meat. However, by the time I finish browning, the fond that develops is way dark and tastes burnt rather than delicious.

For example, last night I used beef cross rib roast cut into 1.5 - 2 inch cubes. Seasoned with salt and pepper - no flour. I used 1-2 Tablespoons of oil into a stainless steel pot. I leave about 1.5 - 2 inches of space between each cube of meat. I typically brown in two batches as to not crowd the pot. Some of my observations (from last night and previous experiences)

1. The first side of the cube browns beautifully. It sticks and then releases when it is ready.

2. If I use an "untouched" area on the bottom of the pot, the second side will brown nicely also by sticking and releasing.

3. Trying to brown on a "used" area doesn't work so well.

4. By the time I get to side #4, juices and fat have run out, the bottom of the pot has already been covered in fond, and I can't get those last sides of the cube to brown nicely. Side #6 never gets a good sear.

5. Batch #1 comes out okay, but if I try to brown a second batch, the fond left from batch#1 definitely gets all burnt.

I have tried high heat to brown more quickly but this results in a burnt bottom. I have also tried medium-low heat and since it takes longer for a nice browning, I still get a burnt bottom if I try to do a second batch.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? Tips and suggestions? I've resorted to browning a batch, deglazing and saving that liquid, cleaning the pot, and then browning batch #2. But that method is hassle. Every recipe makes it seem so easy and just says to brown in batches and then deglaze at the end.


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