Pan sauce

I make a lot of pan sauce. It’s easy if you are cooking meat in a pan, just drain off most of the leftover oil & add half a tablespoon or so of butter, then toss in some flavoring (garlic, shallots, onion, ginger, etc), let them soften & brown, pour in something alcoholic to deglaze, scraping up the browned stuff on the bottom of the pan, once it’s all scraped up, add some liquid (broth, milk, more alcohol, etc), maybe a bit more butter, cook it down a bit & then season to taste with salt, pepper, herbs, balsamic vinegar, etc. Depending on the size of the pan, the amount of liquid & the heat setting this can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes & makes a nice sauce for the meat.

Due to the need to increase the iron in my diet I am now making larger amounts of supper so I can have the leftovers for lunch.

But there is never enough pan sauce leftover for lunch.

There is never that much to begin with and DH or I eat it all during supper.

So I have worked out a recipe to make it without needing freshly cooked meat.

First go freeze some broth in ice cube trays, a variety is good – chicken, vegetable, beef, consume

This isn’t essential but it really helps the flavor.

Next get the basic ingredients


The oil, butter & vinegar are essential. The milk, which is 1% with some half & half added, is the liquid I chose to use this time. I also use broth, wine & sometimes with pork – apple cider. The stuff in the blue bowl is a clove of garlic grated fine and the same amount of fresh ginger also grated fine.

I suck at measuring but basically I use a cup of liquid and the equivalent of two garlic cloves or one large shallot worth of flavoring when I make this.

It serves two by the way.

I also suck at doing recipes.

The Pioneer Woman has nothing to fear from me.

An optional extra is something alcoholic


DH drinks rye & this is his favorite brand. It’s the brand a guy would be served in a saloon in the Old West when he says “Gimme a shot o’rye” right before a brawl breaks out. Or that a PI in a 30’s noir detective film would drink while talking about the trouble the woman who just walked into his office would bring him.

I told DH he either needs a 10 gallon hat or a fedora if he is going to keep drinking the stuff.

Anyway, back to the sauce. 

You also need to melt one of those cubes of broth, assuming you aren’t using broth as the liquid.

Personally, I rarely do, hence the broth cubes.

Put a small saucepan over mediumish heat


Add half a tablespoon of butter & about that much oil. Once the butter stops foaming add the flavoring & let it soften & brown.

Stir often. Whisking would be better but my saucepan is so small I use a spatula.

Once the garlic, etc is getting nice golden color add a healthy splash of that rye/wine/broth and let it boil & bubble while you stir.

If you are not using broth, now is the time to add that melted cube of it.

You should have something like this


Add another half tablespoon of butter (if you aren’t using half & half or heavy cream as the liquid), let it melt in and then add the liquid of your choice.

Adjust the heat so you have a nice simmer and stir occasionally while waiting for it to boil down until about half the liquid is left.

This takes far less time in a wide skillet than in a sauce pan and less time for broth or cider than for milk.

This particular sauce took 12 minutes to boil down, making it about 15 minutes over all.

Once it’s thickened, splash in a bit of balsamic vinegar.

If you can get flavored balsamic so much the better. The main Olde Downe Towne Shoppe area of a nearby town has recently been taken over by stores selling gourmet oil & vinegar and every time I have a spare $10 I have been buying one or the other. I have balsamics infused with pomegranate, sage, chocolate, and white truffles as well as black truffle and orange olive oils currently.

I used the pomegranate balsamic for this sauce.

Taste and season with salt & pepper then pour over the meat or into a bowl for dipping


Basic Saucepan Sauce serves 2 and can easily be doubled or tripled

1 cup liquid such as milk, broth, cider, juice, etc

3 teaspoons finely grated aromatics such as garlic, onion, leeks, ginger, etc (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon of butter

.5 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons something alcoholic or more liquid

1 teaspoon vinegar, balsamic preferred but apple cider also good

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat add oil & half the butter, once the butter stops foaming add the aromatics and cook, stirring frequently until soft & golden, add the 2 tablespoons of liquid & bring to a boil, add the other half the butter, once it has melted add the cup of liquid, bring to boil & then turn heat down until it’s just simmering. Let simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, stirring occasionally (7-12 minutes), add the vinegar and season to taste.

Some suggestions – beef broth with splash of soy, garlic & ginger & red wine for beef – apple cider, leeks & sage & white wine for pork –  milk, shallots & rye/whiskey/scotch for chicken

This can also be made in the pan the meat was cooked in which gives it a richer meaty flavor.

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3 comments to Pan sauce

  • Nice job on the recipe – I like how often you suggest that alcohol is required (or at least suggested!).

  • 1 1/4 cup applesauce1 cup white sugar1/2 cup veeglabte oil2 eggs2 TBSP milk2 cups flour1/2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp cinnamon1/4 tsp ground nutmeg1/4 tsp ground allspice1/4 tsp salt1/2 cup chopped pecansI did half whole wheat flour and did not not have sugar so used brown sugar and agave.

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