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How to Make Pan Sauces

Use a homemade pan sauce to dress up sautéed steaks, chicken breasts, and fish fillets. We’ll show you how to brown the meat, what to look for when the pan sauce is done cooking, and the secrets to deglazing.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012|

-I'm Sue with the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen. Quick to make pan sauces are cooks' best weapon for dressing up sauteed steaks, chops, chicken breast, or fish fillets. Here are secrets to success for making delicious, simple pan sauces every time. First, saute the meat in a skillet until well brown on both sides. For the best browning, use a pan with a stainless steel interior, not a nonstick one. The browning both on the mean and in the pan is key. In french, it's called fond, which means foundation. And it's what will give the sauce deep flavor and color. As you saute, don't move the meat around on the pan. Constant contact to the hot surface of the pan will create a gorgeous brown crust on the meat. Now, make the sauce. remove the meat from the skillet and loosely top with foil to keep warm. Add in shallots to the pan and saute over low heat until soft. Then, add liquid to the pan-- wine, apple juice, or broth. This step is called de-glazing, and it's away to release those delicious brown bits of the fond from the bottom of the pan. If you're using wine to the glaze, remove the pan from the heat, so the alcohol doesn't ignite. Add additional broth if you like, then simmer over medium high until the sauce starts to thicken. You'll know it's ready when it leaves a path in the pan as you pull a paddle through. Remove the pan from the heat, and finish the sauce with slices of cold butter stirring each slice into the sauce before adding the next. This adds body, richness, and a beautiful shim. Finally, add lemon juice for balance and brightness and your favorite chopped herb if you like. However you decide to tailor your sauce, it's about to be delicious with our secrets to success from better homes and gardens.