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Video:Perfect Pan Sauce Basics

with John Mitzewich

Making a perfect pan sauce doesn't require any special cooking skills or talent – it simply requires knowing these four basic steps! Learn how to make your own pan sauce at home.See Transcript

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Transcript:Perfect Pan Sauce Basics

Today I'm going to show you the 4 simple steps to perfect pan sauces. So easy, works with any meat and here's how you do it.

Sear the Meat

We're going to take a heavy-duty frying pan. Not a non-stick, regular stainless steel is best, but you can also use cast iron. Over med-high heat with just a little vegetable oil, we're going to sear the meat.

Make sure the pan is nicely heated, if you don't hear a "sizzle" then it's not hot enough and let it get hotter. We're going to sear this on both sides. I'm going to cook this med-rare about 4 minutes per side.

Create the Pan Sauce Fond

So, the first step to a pan sauce is called the "Fond," which is a French culinary term that means the "base" of the sauce. Those caramelized meat juices on the pan are the "fond," and that is the most important step of a pan sauce. That's going to give us all our flavor.

Begin Deglazing

Step 2 is the deglazing, which we do with some kind of flavorful liquids. Here I'm using some Marsala wine and beef stock. So add 1/4 cup of wine and 1 cup of beef stock. Pour it in the hot pan and turn it to high heat. Deglazing simply means releasing all that beautiful caramelized meat juice, the fond, from the bottom of the pan. That will dissolve and melt into the sauce.

Reduce the Pan Sauce

Now, we're going to let that reduce -- so the third step to a pan sauce is the reduction. We want to go down about 2/3rd in volume. So go until we have about 1/2 cup left in the pan, then turn off the heat.

Add Butter to the Pan Sauce

Then the final step, called "Mont au Beurre" which means to "finish with butter." Put in a chunk (2 tbsp) of cold butter and keep the pan moving. You can use a whisk, but I just keep shaking the pan back and forth until the butter melts.

The butter gives it this beautiful, luxurious texture, it actually thickens it up a little bit. The final, final touch is you can add some fresh herbs before serving, like I did here with 1 tbsp of fresh chives. It was so good with the Marsala pan sauce, which was amazing with this piece of meat!

And that's it! The four basic steps to perfect pan sauce are: the fond, the deglazing, the reduction, and finishing with butter. If you can do those 4 steps you can make any pan sauce in the world. I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!
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