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How to Brown Meat and Make Dark Gravy | The Maillard Reaction

310°F (or higher) is the temperature which is required for meats like beef and poultry, among others, to begin browning. It is referred to, in culinary jargon, as the Maillard reaction (pronounced 'my-YARD').

When this reaction occurs it is advisable to keep a close-eye on the meat you are browning, turning it over occasionally until all sides are done. 

Often times, after the browning is complete, you will notice what looks like burned residue stuck on the bottom of the pot or skillet. We Cajuns refer to that as "gratin". It is the main ingredient that is used to make a savory dark gravy to serve with rice, mashed potatoes, cornbread, biscuits, so on.

Tip: The best way to dissolve the crusty gratin at the bottom of a pot or skillet is to keep the heat on and add a few ice cubes and stir them around a bit.

The crusty residue will begin to dissolve quite easily. Keep adding 1 ice cube at the time until all of it is dissolved. Turn off the heat and pour the savory broth in a sauce pan, add a couple teaspoons of all-purpose flour or cornstarch, some DIY Cajun seasoning, cook on medium heat until it thickens ( a minute or so) and voila! You just made yourself a dark gravy -- Cajun style. Some of us may like to add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet to make the gravy appear even darker.

I hope this helps.

Bon Appetit!

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