Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Don’t Just Gaze…When You Could Deglaze

Now that you have finished sauteeing whatever it is that you are sauteeing, you will find that your skillet has little bits of brown stuff still stuck to the bottom.

Your first thought as you gaze at this skillet that you dread cleaning is that you now have to get out a Brillo and clean the darn thing…all the time wondering if you’re gonna scratch the new skillet that you just forked over how much for…

But wait…

There is a way not only to make cleaning this skillet easier, but also to use these bits to make your food taste even better.

What you find stuck on your skillet is actually a mixture of browned sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and rendered fat that have collected on the bottom of the pan.

This caramelized “mess,” which the French call sucs, is actually packed with flavor and will only require some sort of liquid—such as wine, stock, or juice—to become something quite delicious.

How do I do that?

The way that you make this stuff actually taste good, not to mention cleaning your skillet is deglazing.

Deglazing transforms this messy residue into a delicious gravy or sauce that can be served with the food that you finished sauteeing or used to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies.

This will add an additional rich flavour to the dish, capture the food’s flavor that is lost during cooking, and tenderize the foods that have so often become dry as you have sautéed them.

So how do you deglaze?

First transfer whatever you have just cooked onto a platter and cover so that it stays warm while you are deglazing the skillet.

Next add a liquid—such as wine, beer, stock, wine, juice, or both—and any desired fresh herbs to the hot pan. Add enough liquid to make twice the amount of sauce you want to make.

The flavor of your sauce or gravy will ultimately be determined by the following three things…

  • the key ingredient
  • the liquid used for deglazing
  • any flavoring or finishing ingredients that you add—such as aromatics, herbs, or butter

Raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, and gently boil gently until the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and make them dissolve into the sauce.

Cook until the there seems to be half as much liquid as you started with.

Taste the sauce until you get the flavor that you like.

If you need to thicken your sauce or gravy so that you get a richer and more concentrated sauce or gravy, add some flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot…or simply simmer some more.

You could also add a tablespoon of whipping cream, olive oil, or butter to add even more flavor, give it a velvety texture, and thicken the sauce.

And there you go—not only a cleaner skillet that will be easier to wash, but also a delicious something extra to serve with whatever you had just sautéed…