Welcome to “How To” on Eating In Bed! I know it’s hard to learn how to cook with no explanation for the method you’re using is, so this section of the site is dedicated to making delicious food accessible, fun, and to introduce you to the proper execution of cooking techniques!
Searing is one of the most essential techniques in a chef’s repertoire. It keeps thick cuts of meat juicy and tender it also creates layers of texture by making a flavorful seasoned crust and leaving the natural flavors inside untouched. It’s perfect for filet mignon, pot roasts, briskets, and anything braised. When you sear something then braise it the browned outside of your meat will deliver incredible depth to your braising liquid.
Now you know why you want to braise, so how do you do it? When working with any cut of meat I like to bring it to room temperature before searing because it helps bring additional juices to the surface, which create a more flavorful crust. It’s also important to hit your meat with salt while it’s coming to room temperature because it helps release more of the juices and breaks down the meat.
For the sake of this article we’re talking about searing a 2′ thick filet mignon. Once your meat is at room temperature bring a non-stick or cast iron pan to medium high heat and the pan itself is almost smoking. Place your meat in the pan seasoned side down. Season the other side of the meat and after 2-3 minutes you will have a nice browned crust. Flip the meat and repeat, the second side should take slightly longer to sear. You can sear all sides on something massive like a whole tenderloin but for something like a steak you just need sear both sides. Once your meat is seared you can finish it however you want, usually seared meats are finished off in a hot oven or braised until the meat falls apart. Some foods, like ribs, can be braised and then seared after to lock in the flavors of the braising liquid. To finish the filet specifically you could throw it in a 400 degree oven for another 15-20 minutes for a perfect medium rare.
Now that you have a grasp of braising techniques and practices I hope you will apply it to your cooking. Just keep in mind that not all proteins need to be seared like most seafoods, chicken, and thinner cuts of meat. If you have any questions about this technique or comments I would love to hear them!