When you’re following a recipe, you’ll probably notice that it provides two pieces of guiding information: how long you should cook an ingredient, and what that ingredient should look like before moving on to the next step (or plating). For the best-tasting food, you should (mostly) ignore that first bit, and focus on the second.
This isn’t because recipe writers are actively lying to you. The number of minutes they prescribe for sautéing, searing, or simmering is probably based in reality, but you should use that timeframe as the loosest of guides.
There are simply too mainly variables from kitchen to kitchen to take numbers as gospel. Ovens heat unevenly, “medium-high” on a gas stove is different than “medium-high” on electric, and variation in ingredients — such as size or moisture content — can greatly affect cooking times.
So instead of worrying if you’ve cooked your meal a couple minutes too long (or too short), focus on the parts of the recipe that describe physical cues such as temperature, colour, and volume. (And please, for the love of all that is edible, buy a digital thermometer.)