Pan Sauces

A good pan sauce can add another dimension of flavor to meat and poultry dishes. In this video, Johnny Livesay explains how to pan-sear meat, deglaze a pan, and keep your sauce from breaking while making a red wine pan sauce.

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Video Transcript

Hello. My name is Johnny Livesay from the Black Star Co-op in Austin, Texas. Today we're going to go over how to make a pan sauce.

I'm going to go ahead and turn this burner on so we can sear this steak off.

When you make a pan sauce, more often than not it's to give a dish a little extra flavor. And usually you'll use it for meats, poultry, seafood, pork, beef, things like that. So, we're going to sear this steak and then use the gooey bits that are left behind, called fond, to scrape that up and actually make the flavor base for the pan sauce today.

So, as this steak cooks in the pan, all of the sugars and the proteins on the actual steak are going to caramelize, and that's what is going to be left behind in the residue that's called fond in the bottom of the pan.

That's going to need to cook about 2 minutes per side. So, while that's happening, I'll go ahead and prepare the shallots and the mushrooms for the pan sauce.

When you're making a pan sauce, you definitely want to get some aromatics in there. So, for this we're going to use some thyme and some shallots. So when you're doing this you're going to want to cut them into pretty small pieces—that way you don't have big chunks in your actual pan sauce at the end.

I'm going to go ahead and turn the steak over now. And as you can see, there's already a good amount of stuff left behind in the pan, and that's all going to contribute to the flavor of your pan sauce.

So I'm going to go ahead and add these mushrooms in. That will just help to intensify the flavor of the mushrooms and also give a little bit more depth to the pan sauce when it's finished. So the steak is finished cooking. I'm going to go ahead and pull it out so it can rest while we complete the pan sauce.

We're going to add a little bit of fat, so a little bit of butter, to the pan. And you'll hear it as you scrape—there's a good amount of resistance, and that's going to be the fond coming off the bottom of the pan.

And we'll go ahead and add the shallots. And a little bit of salt.

So now that the mushrooms have browned a little bit, we're going to go ahead and do the first step of making the pan sauce, which is going to be deglazing. So deglazing is going to remove the fond from the bottom of the pan and incorporate it into the pan sauce.

The point of making a pan sauce is generally a reduction of flavors. So what we're going to use today is going to be beef broth and red wine. Go ahead and just add that. And scrape, because that's going to actually pull up the rest of that fond. You want the heat to still be kind of high.

Scrape along the bottom as it deglazes. And add the rest of the wine. And we'll go ahead and add the beef stock as well. And it's going to take a couple of minutes for these to reduce.

For this pan sauce, we're going to use some fresh thyme.

To finish the sauce, we're going to use a process called mounting. And that's where you take a sauce, let it reduce down to a consistency of a syrup. Then we're going to hit it with some butter. It does help if it's cold, and smaller pieces are better because they'll incorporate into the sauce a little bit more evenly.

And we're just going to kind of spoon that in and whisk it in. And what that's going to do is really add a nice soft mouth feel for the pan sauce and provide a little bit more creaminess than you would get from just the reduction of the wine and the stock. Once you've added the butter, you're going to want to kill the heat.

And at this point I'm going add the thyme. Make sure that's incorporated really well.

And I'm going to taste it just to make sure that everything is balanced and adjust the seasoning if necessary. And it's going to be hot, so don't burn yourself. And that tastes pretty good.

So now that the pan sauce is complete, we're going to go ahead just spoon it over the steak. And here you have a steak with a red wine pan sauce.

My name is Johnny Livesay for Co+op, stronger together.