Food - Drink
Why It Pays To Sear Meat Before Putting It In A Slow Cooker
By TALIN VARTANIAN
Soups and stews may be the most popular dishes to make in a slow cooker, especially when using tough cuts of meat. It's true that the moist environment inside a slow cooker does a good job of tenderizing these cuts, and putting raw meat into the cooker makes the process even easier, but this isn't the best approach to maximize flavor.
Searing meat before adding it to a slow cooker will enhance its color, texture, and flavor, leading to a final dish that has a richer and less "flat" flavor, a common pitfall of slow-cook meals. Searing meat can also cut down on the fat content in your dish, but for those of you who love fat, add the fat in your skillet to the slow cooker for extra flavor.
The extra flavor in browned meat is owed to the Maillard reaction, a non-enzymatic browning process that involves heat, sugars, and proteins. Most complex flavors in cooked foods are created through this reaction, and those extra minutes of prep or cooking time also add a beautiful brown or gold hue to meats, baked goods, and more.