A pan sauce is a foolproof way to pack a simple dinner with a ton of flavour. The steps are easy to master and once you do, they become incredibly adaptable to any ingredients or flavours you want to incorporate.
A pan sauce is made in the same pan used to cook meat. This not only cuts down on the number of dishes involved in cleanup, but also utilizes the crispy bits that stick to the bottom of the pan (the fond), which are chock full of flavour. It’s a fast and easy way to get the most out of your meal, without skimping on taste.
Here are the basic steps for making a pan sauce. You can experiment with the ingredients and flavours and find which suits your pallet and recipe.
Cook the meat
Begin by searing the meat in a frying pan, browning evenly on both sides. For best results, avoid a non-stick pan to ensure your pan gathers fond as you cook. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside to rest.
Remove excess fat from the pan, but leave any bits stuck to the bottom. Now add your aromatics. Minced shallots or onions and some garlic are commonly used. Sauté until the vegetables have softened and the seasonings are fragrant.
Deglaze the pan
Next, deglaze the pan with a liquid. Broth and wine are popular options, but even a little water will do. Let the sauce simmer and scrape up all those delicious bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Now is the time to add any other ingredients – herbs, mustard, anything you think might brighten up your dish.
Thicken the sauce
Once the sauce has reduced by about half, stir in a pat of butter. This will thicken the sauce and give it a delightfully creamy texture. You can also leave this step out if you prefer.
Serve and enjoy!
Place your meat on a plate, drizzle with your delicious pan sauce and serve!
The whole process usually takes less than thirty minutes and the results are delicious.
Interested in trying your hand at a few pan sauce dinners? Try these recipes: