Sunday, July 10, 2016

Simplest Everyday Pan Sauce

My family loves pan sauce and gravy. I think they're good, but the rest of the family is passionate about them.
I've read all sorts of ways to approach them, but this is the one I use almost exclusively. Why, you ask? Because it is easy and I don't have to think about it.
I always add a little bit of water to my roasting pan to ensure that my drippings don't burn. Though that puts me at risk of steaming the meat, I haven't yet had a negative result.
This pan sauce assumes that you have a roasting pan that you can use on the stove. We have an induction stove top and I now have a small and a large roasting pan that work with it.
All I do is put the roasting pan over two burners, crank the heat up to high and throw in 1 cup each of chicken stock and dry vermouth (or dry white wine). I let that reduce and then add a scant teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with cold water. There are many cooks out there who would reject the cornstarch in favor or butter or beurre maniƩ or some other thickener or no thickener, but I find that just a touch of cornstarch makes the sauce coat the spoon without turning it into jello and it's been more reliable for me than butter. Of course, if I taste it and think the sauce needs something, I never hesitate to add a knob of butter, too...

Drippings from some kind of roasted meat (chicken, pork, beef)
1 c. chicken stock
1 c. dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp cold water
1 TBSP butter, optional
Salt, pepper and herbs to taste


  1. Take meat out of roasting pan and set on a cutting board. Cover it with foil
  2. Set the now-empty roasting pan over two burners, turn heat to high on both
  3. Add the wine or vermouth and stock and whisk constantly
  4. Let reduce until it's somewhat syrupy and starts to coat the back of a spoon
  5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture, whisking vigorously
  6. Add butter if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning
  7. Remove from heat and strain into a serving dish (if there are bits in there that you don't think would be tasty, if not, then don't bother straining it)
  8. Serve

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