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are my pan reduction sauces right?


3kyp777
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im a newbie cook, trying to make some pan sauces for the first time.

lately when ive been sauteing various meat, ive been trying to make a pan sauce to make use of the fond

its a very generic formula of quick saute of shallots in unsalted butter, splash of wine (shiraz or cabernet depending on meat), reduction of stock (homemade chicken or beef), and then last reduction with some medium cream or 2% milk

the main components of acid , stock , protein are roughly equal parts. depending on whats available, sometimes i make slight variation - ie no shallots, balsamic vinegar instead of wine, stick of butter instead of cream/milk, etc....

the problem is , invariably , the result is a khaki colored slurry that just taste too salty and thick...

not only does it not taste appetizing, it just plain doesnt *look* appealing! maybe my stock is already too concentrated? skim milk instead of cream? add water? more cold butter for a smoother beurre blanc type of deal?

what fixes should i incorporate? it doesnt have to be mega tasty, as long as it can dress up the dish visually

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You are using red wine and milk.. Thats never going to look that pretty.. Why not white wine? If you are going to make a red wine sauce leave out the milk.. Add some butter at the end.Is your stock salted?

I think you need to think about what you want the end result to be and then go from there.. Is there a particular sauce you are trying to make or recreate?

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I'd consider leaving out the dairy entirely and working on getting the pre-dairy bit right. Then once you're happy with those, start adding butter. I'd stay away from milk or cream, 'cause they'll not only soften the flavors of your pan sauce, but also introduce another variable into the recipe. Also, in my experience wine and milk are touchy when combined; milk might curdle if the environment is acidic enough. Cream and butter seem to be significantly more stable.

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Definitely stay away from the milk. Curdling is an issue, also consistency and smoothness. Cream or butter is the way to go. Wine is fine, bt a sherry or cognac is nice, too. Don't add these while the pan is on the flame = BIG FLAME. Sweat your shallots in a little fat, add alcohol, reduce au sec (dry, evaporated)), add stock, reduce to nappe, add a knob of softened butter, unsalted. S+P to taste. I like some cracked pepper in my pan steak sauce, going the au poivre method.

Ryan Jaronik

Executive Chef

Monkey Town

NYC

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Hi,

The salt must be coming from somewhere, possibly over salting the meat. New cooks usually get too much salt from using a commercial stock or salted butter. Is there any chance that you are using salt when you prepare your own stock?

A reduced stock should have well balanced flavor/texture before being added to a pan sauce.

The khaki color is from the additions of red wine and milk or cream. Try using dry white wine (madeira, fino sherry, vermouth or a good varietal) to deglaze and mount with cold butter.

Cream is very appropriate for lighter meats. Heavy cream is your best bet and will NOT curdle if it is stirred constantly while reducing.

Flavor balancing with salt, pepper, seasoning, acids, alcohols and herbs can come after the sauce texture has been developed in your pan. Taste as you go...

Have fun,

Tim

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I started using milk because I thought the cream was tooo heavy. I don't feel that my stock is over-salted, but I definitely did add a helping of kosher to it.

I'll skip the red for white next time, less stock and/or dilute with water, and reduce or perhaps skip the dairy...

thanks for the tips so far

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I don't feel that my stock is over-salted, but I definitely did add a helping of kosher to it. 

thanks for the tips so far

Hi,

The reduced stock was the problem with the salt. Do not add salt to stock and you can eliminate this problem.

Cream is wonderful for a sauce, when appropriate. Milk just does not have the flavor or fat needed.

Taste your sauce as it is being developed and you can compensate as needed. If you have to dilute with water due to excess salt, you may thicken with arrowroot.

Tim

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Definitely stay away from the milk. Curdling is an issue, also consistency and smoothness. Cream or butter is the way to go. Wine is fine, bt a sherry or cognac is nice, too. Don't add these while the pan is on the flame = BIG FLAME. Sweat your shallots in a little fat, add alcohol, reduce au sec (dry, evaporated)), add stock, reduce to nappe, add a knob of softened butter, unsalted. S+P to taste. I like some cracked pepper in my pan steak sauce, going the au poivre method.

That is exactly how I do it and and was going to respond. If you like the dairy aspect to the mouthfeel, taste and color may I suggest creme fraiche or Mexican creme added at the last minute (but allow it to warm up a little while you are doing the rest)? Just a little adds a nice touch.

And if you want to get artsy, both are thick enough to place in the center and pull a chopstick through for effects.

Edited by Doodad (log)
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If you are using red wine or red port, I would suggest you stay away from the cream or variations thereof, since it is very easy to create strange colours (like pink...). Taste will be fine with cream, but stock, butter and perhaps a little starch (if needed) will create a much more estethic sauce.

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