brown meat

Illustrations: David Wyffels

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Myth #3: You've Got to Brown the Meat First
The idea that you can throw a bunch of raw ingredients into the pot, clamp the lid on, set it and, yes, forget it (at least for six hours) is awfully appealing—which is why we sometimes shy away from recipes that tell us to brown the pot roast or chicken thighs on the stove first. Can you get away with skipping this step? Yes, says O'Dea, especially if you're just trying to get dinner on the table on a Wednesday night. In side-by-side comparisons, she can tell the difference between meat that was browned first and meat that wasn't (the browned meat has a deeper flavor and a crisper exterior). But for everyday cooking, it really isn't a deal breaker.