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I was cooking chicken soup today. Everything happens in a medium-size dutch oven. I've started with browning some meat in olive oil, then removed it, and added butter and onion to caramelize.

I tried to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom while onions were cooking in the butter, and had trouble. But when i added a splash of chicken stock, it immediately lifted all browned bits with minimal scraping.

What is the mechanism of that difference? Why can't oil/butter lift brown bits?

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