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The other day, I tried to make beouf bourguignon. The recipe called for 6 lbs of beef, I had 5. Nevertheless when it came time to sear the meat I had to do it in batches. Which is fine, except that by batch 3 the fond from batch 1 began to burn. I want that fond! What is the best technique for searing several pans full of beef without burning it?

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There's two things you really need to control, the moisture of the surface of the beef and the heat / fat content of the pan.

Always pat beef down with a paper kitchen towel (or whatever else you use) prior to seasoning it and searing it. It will sear considerably faster if you do this, which results in you having less time per batch for the fonde to burn.

The second thing you have to do is keep an eye on when your pan gets back up to temperature after you put your next batch in, and quite possibly lower the heat a bit (and even perhaps add a tiny bit more fat).

But there's also the possibility that 3 large batches is just going to be quite difficult using one pan, so you could use two pans, or deglaze the pan after the second batch and save it (not ideal, but better than losing all that flavor).

I've never done more than two large pan fulls in a single go (I'd probably use a griddle that sits over 2 burners instead, if I had that much to sear).

  • thanks! that's my general approach (following finecooking.com/articles/beef-bourguignon-master-class.aspx) but I hadn't thought about temp changes in the pan between batches, I probably just left it on the flame. I'm thinking next time I'll deglaze each batch - start over, effectively. but what would you recommend for deglazing? just water? red wine? also I'd like to avoid ending up with a big vat of oil. any way to pull the good stuff out without all the oil? – user51343 Oct 27 '16 at 19:52
  • @mobileink red wine is typically used for deglazing bourguignon, though you could just as easily use beef stock to deglaze and add the wine later. I like using wine to do it because it hastens the cooking out of the alcohol flavor going into a very hot pan and coming up to a boil quickly. – Tim Post Nov 6 '16 at 16:11
  • As for the oil, it's simple :) Take the beef out, tip any excess fat out of the pan, get the pan hot again and then deglaze (off the flame initially). Add the beef back in. – Tim Post Nov 6 '16 at 16:12

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