Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Building a pan sauce... without the pan


phan1
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was wondering how you build a pan-sauce quallity sauce without the pan. Let me explain. Lots of people are cooking their proteins Sous Vide these days (like a boneless chicken breast). That means you don't get to sear something in a pan to get the fond so that you can build your pan sauce. So how would a professional restaurant (like French Laundry) build a pan-sauce quality sauce that goes with a SV chicken breast?

The thing is (from my limited experience), you NEED FOND. Reduced chicken stock just doesn't cut it. You really need that fond on the bottom of the pan to get that caramelized-tasting goodness in the sauce.

So how do they get fond? Do you just fry up chicken scraps to get the fond in the pan? I've tried roasting bones (maybe I'm doing it wrong?), but the bones don't create enough fond the way pan searing a piece of meat does. Can someone help me through the process of making a pan-sauce quality sauce without searing your main protein?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you have to look at the dish as a whole and figure out what types of flavors you're going for.

A traditional pan sauce is a byproduct of a dish that's deliberately browned in the pan to create those familiar roasted mailllard flavors. The sauce incorporates those flavors.

If a dish is being cooked sous vide (or poached, or steamed, or en papillote, or any other method that doesn't brown it) the first question is if browned flavors are appropriate. If so, then you want to figure out how you're going to get them; just using a sauce with those flavors may be too superficial.

Options include taking the cooked but unbrowned protein and searing in a pan, on a grill, in a deep fryer or in front of a fire. If you want to make a pan sauce, then obviously browning in the pan would be the smartest choice.

However, there are ways of making integral sauces with methods like sous vide or poaching that are as good as pan sauces, but don't rely on browned flavors. For example, you can add a small amount of stock or other aromatic liquids to the food in a sous vide pouch. You're essentially doing a sous vide poach (or braise, depending on the temperature), with a very small quantity of liquid. Juices lost from the meat as it cooks past rare will fortify the liquid in the pouch, creating a delicous sauce or sauce base.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

phan1, this question has been on my mind. I love steamed fish with a brown sauce, or poached bird breasts with something fond-based. Or anything sv with real gravy.

I see it as a healthful way to cook the protein while getting just the right accompaniment. For salmon, I like poaching the skinless fillet and offering the sauce on the side, made from skin and tail in the skillet.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My view would be for you to sear the chicken in your pan to get your desired result of browning on the skin and non skin side. Remove from the pan and make your sauce from there. Once that is done, add the chicken and sauce to the bag with any other vegetables or arrowmatics and vacuum and seal it. Cook it the way you would cook any other sous vide chicken.

Edited by chefdg (log)

"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I make gravy a few days before thanksgiving using a technique which combines elements of roasting and making stock.

I roast the parts (necks, backs, thighs) at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, on a rack in my skillet/roasting pan. Elevating the parts yields lots of pan drippings and much better tasting fond.

At this point you may chose to add aromatics and roast them for added color and flavor.

You may then deglaze to make a pan sauce, or use the roast meat, aromatics and fond to make a strong broth by simmering with hot stock.

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is when demi-glace comes in handy. When you make stock for the freezer, take the time on one of the batches to prepare demi glace -- highly concentrated flavor. Pure liquid gold and worth every minute it takes to prepare! I use James Peterson's method from his book "Sauces." I can't say it's my favorite sauce cookbook, because it's my only one. :biggrin: I've seen a few negative comments that he's old school, but that's what I wanted to learn.

You can buy demi glace now. I did once before when I needed some quickly, but it's quite expensive buying it this way and not easily found unless you have better food markets in your area.

Peterson at one time recommended More Than Gourmet brand (Glorious French Food, 2002):

In recent years, packaged concentrated broths and glazes have become available in gourmet stores and even in supermarkets.  There are several brands of concentrated broths.  My favorite is manufactured by More Than Gourmet, whose original product, Demi-Glace Gold, contains flour, but in such small amounts that it's hardly detectable.  Demi-Glace Gold, which is claimed to be ten times as concentrated as demi-glace, is very much like glace de viance, very close to one you would make yourself...

They keep making products better and better, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy commercially prepared demi-glace. Just be sure to check the ingredients list.

Rhonda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, this is the kind of thing demi-glace was invented for, but the result is a separate category of sauce. The question was about achieving the qualities of a pan sauce, which is an integral sauce ... meaning the sauce is derived from the food it's getting served with.

This is in direct contrast with stock and glace-based sauces, which are made by cooking something else.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information. I'm not saying it's a perfect answer; just a suggestion. I understand the question and I guess I should expound my answer – which is to keep pre-made reduced stocks and sauces on hand to use in this situation when one doesn't have the fond or drippings from the protein. He said reduced chicken stock doesn't cut it, but taking it a step or two further to demi-glace will achiever a greater taste sensation and might help. There's the classic; you can vary it with chicken -- and I believe there's even a method with turkey wings, but I haven't tried that one.

In classic French restaurants up until a generation ago, brown sauces were based on demi-glace, which is reduced and concentrated sauce espagenole, a rich veal or beef bone broth with tomatoes added and lightly thickened with brown roux.

He goes on to say,

In modern French restaurants, most brown sauces are based on glace de viande, a very concentrated veal broth that contains no flour.

So, not the answer to every protein, but for quite a few it does the trick.

Rhonda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you haven't done so as yet, check out the eGullet Culinary Institute Course on stock-based sauces. It addresses a number of issues relevant to your question.

The course is located here.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I roast the parts (necks, backs, thighs) at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, on a rack in my skillet/roasting pan.  Elevating the parts yields lots of pan drippings and much better tasting fond.

Tim

I think that's what I need to do! Elevating the parts make a big difference, yeah? I've skipped that part and was a bit dismayed over my lack of fond when I put my chicken parts straight in the pan. Thanks for all the suggestions guys. Demi is great and all but for me, but nothing beats the quality of a classic pan-sauce.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...