The process of cooking food quickly on a high heat setting in order to create a thick crust on all of the surfaces of the items being browned. Meat is browned by adding a little oil to a skillet and quickly searing each side of the meat on high heat to brown the surfaces. This process locks in the natural juices and keeps the meat tender without overcooking the interior of the meat so it retains a pinker coloring, especially for foods that will continue to be cooked as a second cooking phase occurs, such as meat browned for stews. After browning meat, small particles of the meat remain in the pan, which are used to create a "fond" that can be deglazed for use in adding a fuller flavor to the stew or food being prepared.

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