How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

December 9, 2013 by  
Filed under How To, Meats, Tips

How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

By: The Reluctant Gourmet

If you want to elevate your cooking skills to a new level and add a whole lot more to your gastronomy repertoire, learn how to make a simple pan sauce. With this technique in your cooking bag of tricks, you can turn a simple pan-fried steak into a mouth-watering meal, a plain boneless chicken breast into a delicious feast, or a modest pork chop into a scrumptious banquet. Ok, maybe I’m stretching a bit but check this out.

Deglazing the pan with apple cider

Deglazing the pan with apple cider (Photo credit: ilovebutter)

Restaurants chefs use this technique all the time. Basically, they cook something in a sauté pan over pretty high heat until it’s done and leaves a bunch of brown caramelize bits of “stuff”in the pan. You look at this “stuff” in the pan and say to yourself, “Now how am I going to clean this ‘stuff’ off the pan? What a mess! I wish I had used a non stick pan.”

The “stuff” has a name, it’s called “fond” and you want that “fond” stuck to your pan because it is packed with incredible flavors. It’s also easy to remove by adding a little liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon to dissolve it. This is called deglazing and can be done with wine, brandy, fortified wines, stock, cider, fruit juices or most typically a combination of two. Just be careful if you use wine to remove the pan from the heat so the alcohol doesn’t ignite and blow up in your face. I’ve spoken with chefs who have seen this happen.

The next steps are to continue to cook the liquid in the pan until it is reduced by half and finish by adding several pats of butter to thicken and enhance the flavor of the sauce. If you ever knew how much butter professional chefs use in restaurants to “enhance” flavor, you would be amazed. I sometimes think they make their dishes too rich because I get that uncomfortable “too full” feeling later on, but then again, it’s so good while you’re dining. Now those are just the basics.

To create more complexity to the sauce you’ll want to add some aromatics like garlic or shallots for a subtle but additional layer of flavor. Then you might want to add some additional ingredients such as mushrooms, mustards, chutneys, herbs and/or spices to give even more complexity and flavor.

For more information on making classic and quick pan sauces at home including what kind of pan to use, how much deglazingliquid to use and two example recipes for the same sauce, one classic and the other quick, go to http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/pan_sauces.htm

About the author: G. Stephen Jones, The Reluctant Gourmet, created a web site back in 1997 as a hobby to assist other novice cooks who may find the art of cooking a little daunting. As an ex-Wall Street broker and Stay-at-Home Dad, I try to explore cooking from a different perspective. Visithttp://www.reluctantgourmet.com/ for more tips, techniques and recipes.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Quick and Easy Dinner Menu for a Busy Night: Chicken with Mango Salsa

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Meats, Quick and Easy

The Menu:

A Quick and Easy Chicken Dinner

A Quick and Easy Chicken Dinner:Chicken with Mango Salsa, Photo by Mackarus

Chicken with Mango Salsa
Rice Pilaf
Spring Greens with Cherry Tomatoes

Start the rice pilaf first, unless you are using instant it will take longer than the chicken.

Mango Chicken

4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
garlic salt

Skin and bone chicken, trim off all visible fat.

Lay one chicken breast half on a flat surface lined with plastic wrap.

Place another piece of plastic wrap onto chicken breast.

Pound chicken thin with the flat side of a mallet or the bottom of a bottle by hitting downward onto the chicken then sliding the bottle or mallet outward to the edge. The next blow goes outward in the opposite direction, until the chicken is evenly thin all around. Not a lot of force is needed, most of the thinning is done by the outward slide. This should not take but a minute per chicken breast. If you don’t want to pound the breasts, then just cook them a little longer until done.

Season the chicken breasts with garlic salt.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan. Saute the chicken in the butter and oil until cooked. Remove to a warm plate or platter.

Top with mango salsa and serve. I place the chicken on a bed of rice pilaf, then top with the mango salsa.


Mango Salsa

2 cups diced fresh or canned mango pulp
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (green is ok, but red looks nicer)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 hot chili pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients, blend well. Allow flavors to blend while chicken cooks.

Serve with a salad of spring greens, cherry tomatoes, and your favorite dressing along side a rice pilaf.

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under How To, Meats, Tips

How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

By: The Reluctant Gourmet

If you want to elevate your cooking skills to a new level and add a whole lot more to your gastronomy repertoire, learn how to make a simple pan sauce. With this technique in your cooking bag of tricks, you can turn a simple pan-fried steak into a mouth-watering meal, a plain boneless chicken breast into a delicious feast, or a modest pork chop into a scrumptious banquet. Ok, maybe I’m stretching a bit but check this out.

Restaurants chefs use this technique all the time. Basically, they cook something in a sauté pan over pretty high heat until it’s done and leaves a bunch of brown caramelize bits of “stuff”in the pan. You look at this “stuff” in the pan and say to yourself, “Now how am I going to clean this ‘stuff’ off the pan? What a mess! I wish I had used a non stick pan.”

English: Fond left in a white enamel pot after...

The fond left in the pan after cooking is the flavor for delicious pan sauces. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “stuff” has a name, it’s called “fond” and you want that “fond” stuck to your pan because it is packed with incredible flavors. It’s also easy to remove by adding a little liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon to dissolve it. This is called deglazing and can be done with wine, brandy, fortified wines, stock, cider, fruit juices or most typically a combination of two. Just be careful if you use wine to remove the pan from the heat so the alcohol doesn’t ignite and blow up in your face. I’ve spoken with chefs who have seen this happen.

The next steps are to continue to cook the liquid in the pan until it is reduced by half and finish by adding several pats of butter to thicken and enhance the flavor of the sauce. If you ever knew how much butter professional chefs use in restaurants to “enhance” flavor, you would be amazed. I sometimes think they make their dishes too rich because I get that uncomfortable “too full” feeling later on, but then again, it’s so good while you’re dining. Now those are just the basics.

To create more complexity to the sauce you’ll want to add some aromatics like garlic or shallots for a subtle but additional layer of flavor. Then you might want to add some additional ingredients such as mushrooms, mustards, chutneys, herbs and/or spices to give even more complexity and flavor.

For more information on making classic and quick pan sauces at home including what kind of pan to use, how much deglazing liquid to use and two example recipes for the same sauce, one classic and the other quick, go to http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/pan_sauces.htm

About the author: G. Stephen Jones, The Reluctant Gourmet, created a web site back in 1997 as a hobby to assist other novice cooks who may find the art of cooking a little daunting. As an ex-Wall Street broker and Stay-at-Home Dad, I try to explore cooking from a different perspective. Visit http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/ for more tips, techniques and recipes.

Enhanced by Zemanta