Do I need to brown the beef stew before I put it in the crock pot?
Do you think it is necessary to brown the beef cubes before putting them in the slow cooker? I'm thinking that this step sort of defeats the purpose of the crock pot and gives me another pot to wash. Is there really a difference?
My experience is that it is somewhat better if you do brown it, adds depth of flavor and all that. Is it enough to be worth having to wash an extra pot? Yes, on a good day; no on a bad day.
Yes, it looks and taste better. For stew, I use Chateaubrian cut into large chunks floured and fried to give a nice brown crust first. it will help with thickening the broth later on also.
For years I did not brown the meat before putting into the crockpot - until once I decided to give it a try and it turne out excellent - I then deglazed the put wiht the liguid I used in the crockpot - it came out better than anything I had made in the past -
So to answer your qestion yes you can but as ANNe H and chef chicklet posted it will a added layer of flavor -
I'd never do a stew without browning the meat, honestly. And the advice above to deglaze the pan is also extremely important to get all the flavor into the dish.
It seems to be your call whether you prefer convenience or an extra layer of flavor in your stew.
You know, you could have posted this on a crockpot board or a harried homemaker board and got different answer, but you wanted to post on the chowhound board, so I'm going to trust that you'll do the right thing (insert smiley.)
It makes a huge difference in the flavor and appearance and yes, gives you another pot to wash. One of the reasons I never use my slow cooker.