Hey y'all - I love me a good sauce (who don't?), and like Chef said going up the Mekong, "I was born to be a saucier". Well maybe I t'were and maybe I t'weren't, but as sure as shit on Sunday I like to make me a sauce. So every now and again I'll post one here. Lemme know if there are any you wanna know how to make. Seriously, make your own damn Hollandaise once in your life. XOXO, THB
28 June 2007 - Simple Pan Sauce
Howdy y'all - are you someone who bemoans the scraping of the sticky gunk off of the cooking pans after the dinner is served and dishes are being done? If so, blame yourself for you have committed two sins: 1. Denial of the creation of sauce, and 2. Creation of extra dish-scrubbin' labor by lack of sauce-creation. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who stands next to a stove at any time should know how to make a pan sauce. Simply put, a pan sauce is any sauce made in the selfsame pan used for previous cooking of an item (usually protein) which then imparts a bit of itself unto the sauce. This is the proper technique for biscuits with sausage gravy or probably any awesome gravy your granny ever made. There are 4 basic steps to the making of a pan sauce:
1. Establishment of "Fond" - fond is the brown crispy bits that stick in the pan after the cooking is done. Fond is often a product of sauteeing a floured protein. Even without the flour, oftentimes fond exists.
2. Deglazing - use of a tasty liquid to loosen the fond and get it working in the sauce (i.e. stock, wine, booze, beer, lemon juice, milk, etc. You can use water, but Jesus, live a little...)
3. Concentration - evaporation of the deglazing liquid to a more condensed volume for flavor enhancement
4. Enrichment - addition of butter, cream, demi glace or the like for luxurious final product - some people will consider this step optional. Feel free to guess where I stand.
So for example, let's make, I dunno, Pork Chops with Calvados Pan Sauce
2 Pork Chops - your choice of cut and size
Flour for dusting
Olive oil for Sauteeing
1 small shallot, finely minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup Calvados or other apple brandy
1-2 Tbs **cold** butter (If you happen to have demi-glace around, that's good too)
Salt / pepper to taste
1. For later, heat oven to 200 F to keep chops warm
2. Heat oil in sautee pan large enough to hold chops
3. Lightly flour chops, knocking off excess flour
4. Cook chops to brownness on both sides, hoping for a medium-rare to medium chop (**rough** rule of thumb - 4-5 minutes per side per inch thickness, i.e. 4-5 minutes on each side for a 1" chop. Buy a thermometer already...)
5. Remove chops from pan to another plate and keep in the oven
6. Reduce heat to medium and add shallot - sautee a few minutes
7. Increase heat to high and immediately add chicken stock and Calvados
8. Scrape fond off bottom of pan. You will notice how amazingly easy it comes up.
9. Reduce liquid to about 4-5 Tbs
10. ***Off heat***, add cold butter and whisk until incorporated
11. Adjust seasoning with salt / pepper and pour the luxuriant nectar over the chops and serve (Some folks in the fancy joints will strain the sauce through a fine sieve before pouring over the chops, but that ain't me. Suit yourself, candy pants)
1. Never let the fond in any step of cooking get much past a light mahogany brown. Doing otherwise creates a nasty, bitter sauce.
2. It is sometimes necessary to pump up the thickenin' power of the fond. This is easily done by the addition of about a teaspoon of extra flour after the chops are removed from the pan. Cook the flour with the fond and cooking oil into a light roux over medium heat for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Then add tasty liquid and proceed.
3. Another nice touch is to add some aromatic herbs (e.g. thyme, rosemary or the like) along with the shallot around step 6. No need to chop it all up, add the stems and all, then simply remove from sauce before serving, or don't. Herb twigs don't bother me none.
Deglazed and amazed, THB
18 June 2007
Simple Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
I started making this sauce about 8 years ago when I used to do a lot of lonely man home-cooking and eating in MPLS. Turns out, the Megsta' liked it a lot too. It's super-easy and versatile as all-git-out.
1 red pepper, whole
Oil for sauteeeing
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine
Juice 1/2 lemon
1-2 Tbs cold butter to finish (Optional, but not really)
Salt / pepper to taste
Char red pepper over open flame of gas range or under broiler in oven, rotating often until all skin is black and blistered. Toss in a bowl and cover with Saran or toss in a Ziploc for 10-20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a saucepan, add oil and sautee shallot on med-low heat 5-10 minutes until translucent. Increase heat to med-high, add wine and reduce to about 1 Tbs of liquid. Remove from heat.
Back to the pepper - peel off all the black part best you can. I say don't run it under water - opinions vary. Slice out the stem and remove any of the white inner ribs and seeds. Blend pepper in blender or food processor.
Bring shallot/wine back to heat, add pepper puree and lemon juice. When just heated, add cold butter, stirring constantly until incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt / pepper...and, done!
I mostly use this with seafood, but it's mighty fine with chicken or pork as well.
Cheers to ya', Jeremy THB