Reader question: Dear Ms. Yarnell, Been enjoying the one pot meals, but have a question. The meat meals don’t seem to brown the meat. Is that right? Wondering if I’m doing something wrong. ~ Peter S., Arlington
Hi Peter — I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying GOPMs!
To answer your question, in Glorious One-Pot Meals, the meats don’t brown for the same reason the oils don’t oxidize: the lidded cast iron Dutch oven is a closed vessel. You need an oxygen supply to make these things happen. Poached meats don’t brown, either. You’re not doing anything wrong, and the meat is still fully cooked up to recommended temperatures according to food safety standards, but it likely won’t be browned when it comes out of the pot.
Some people find meat that hasn’t been browned unappetizing looking (it still tastes great, it just looks weird to them because they are accustomed to seeing browned meat. As an aside, browning meat may create carcinogens as the fat heats and oxidizes, but that’s another topic.)
If you prefer not to look at un-browned meat, try the GOPM recipes that are saucy, like the African Peanut Butter Chicken, Thai Curry with Tofu, or Chicken with Savory Port Mushroom Sauce. Of course, being GOPMs, you can substitute any protein into these recipes and they will still be delicious masterpieces done in 45 minutes.