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Dec 20, 2009 03:44 AM

Braised meat technique: to flour or not to flour before browning?

That's it, pretty simple. I'm making venison goulash next week (from shoulder). It will braise in red wine and broth.

Any opinions on whether or not to dust the dried meat with flour before browning? Thanks!

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  1. Flouring meat to be browned prior to braising is, imo, just a convoluted way of adding roux to the sauce. The time it takes to flour meat before browning is invariably greater than the time it takes to make a roux. A roux is also safer than flouring meat from a perspective of cross contamination. The less raw meat is handled, the better.

    1. i'd do it. it'll help with the browning, and provide flavor from the cooking of the flour with the fat. looks better, too -- even if you'll braise later.

      1. I'm sure everyone has an opinion about this but I find always happier when I do not dust the meat w/ flour. With that said I do make tiny roux on my mirepoix. that gets done after the meat has browned and before it goes back in. I love the bit of thickness it adds to the sauce but I not right on the meat.
        Also so jealous of your venison shoulder.

        1. Christina there are two schools of thoughts....One to flour, so it adds thickening, and some flavor to the pot...The other not to flour to take full advantage to the maillard reaction (browning of the meat) for flavor. Personally I think it is 6 of one, half a dozen of the other..Whatever you want to do...Whatever you are used to doing....In the end, IMO it makes little difference...When the dish calls for braising I usually do not..HTH

          Have Fun & Enjoy!

          7 Replies
          1. re: Uncle Bob

            Right, that's what I was curious about, the maillard reaction vs. the flavor from browning the flour. Still undecided. I read somewhere that Jamie Oliver thinks stews taste "cleaner" when not browning the meat first at all (i.e., bypassing the whole flour/no flour debate entirely).

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              You don't have to choose...You can have both....brown the meat, (with or without flour) and add a bit of roux to the dish...


              1. re: Uncle Bob

                This is a good idea. I'm thinking brown the meat without flour, remove from the pan, add my onions, sprinkle with some flour...should work!

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  This is exactly what I do, and I've had no complaints....

            2. re: Uncle Bob

              you can get a maillard reaction from toasting bread. i don't know why you won't get a maillard reaction if flour is on the meat.

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Just an interesting note: Wikipedia claims that browning *lean* meat involves barely, if any, of the Maillard reaction -- "The browning reactions which occur when meat is roasted or seared have often been referred to as Maillard reaction browning. However, lean meat contains very few, if any, reducing sugars. Furthermore, red meat undergoes more extensive browning than does white meat. The browning reactions in lean meat are most likely due to the breakdown of the tetrapyrrole rings of the muscle protein, myoglobin. Thus, the browning of meat is technically not a Maillard browning since it does not involve the reaction with a reducing sugar."

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  you beat me to it, christina. i was just going to paste the very same thing! LOL!