Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Feature: 101 Uses for Leftover Wine: Make a Pan Sauce

A pan sauce made with wine is an easy way to make any sauteed protein into something special.

It's a way of combining the fond- those tasty brown bits left on the bottom of the pan when you cook protein at high temperature, with wine and other flavors to create a savory sauce that is served with the protein.


The process is pretty simple, and lends itself to countless variations.

Once your protein is cooked, remove it to a plate and tent it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest while you are making your sauce. The resting period will allow the natural juices to be reabsorbed back in to the protein.

Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the saute pan, and add 1 shallot, finely minced.  Saute the shallot over medium heat until the it is softened.(2-3 minutes) Do not brown.

Add  1 cup of stock (beef, chicken or mushroom) depending on the flavor that will work best with your protein,  and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of red or white wine (again, depending on your protein) , scraping up and dissolving those lovely bits of fond at the bottom of the pan. At this point you have several options: if you want a slightly sweeter sauce, add a teaspoon of brown sugar. If you would like something a bit more savory, add a teaspoon of tomato paste. For something a bit mor piquant, add a teaspoon or two of coarse mustard (good with chicken and pork) or lemon juice (delicious with fish). You might also add a teaspoon of minced fresh herbs. Or, add nothing at all.  

Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened. To make the sauce rich and glossy, wisk in 3 tablespoons of chilled butter, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Do Not Boil.
The butter will bind the sauce into an emulsion which can break with excess heat.

Take the pan off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and you have an elegant and delicious sauce to serve with your steak, chop, chicken breast, fish fillet, or whatever you have prepared.  Enjoy!

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