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In most recipes example from BBC, in making a Goulash, a step is to brown/fry lightly the beef in flour before the stewing steps. Why is this done?

Since the beef will be in a liquid it can't be to prevent drying. Is it to keep the form and texture of the beef?

If you fry without the flour what difference is made?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Flouring the beef does two things:

  • It facilitates the development of a crust on the outside of the meat that is brown and flavorful;
  • It contributes to the development of the sauce, as the starch will dissolve off of the meat into the sauce, where it will swell at about 180 F, helping to thicken the sauce.

In this particular recipe, the flour is the only source of thickening, so it is being used for both purposes, but mostly for the second, where it is essentially creating a roux as your brown the beef, because you are also cooking the flour in the olive oil. In this recipe, omitting it would give you a much thinner sauce.

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thanks. I have that link to the BBC recipe in the question. – Vass Sep 30 '13 at 14:22
Sorry, missed that. – SAJ14SAJ Sep 30 '13 at 14:26

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