I wanted to quickly add the second “gravy” that I made earlier in the week, a wonderful pan sauce that went with some inexpensive boneless pork chops, blackeye peas and rice. I only got one photo of the process, not even the final product…we were hungry!…so I’ll have to be descriptive.
I know, pan sauce is a gravy just like a well-running Volvo S80 is a clunker. But you get my drift.
First, you really (REALLY) need to use a stainless steel pan, not a non-stick. Stickage is critical to creating the fond, or crusty-bit foundation, of the sauce.
In your pan, heat up about a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Honesty time: I tried to skip the olive oil on Monday because I was too lazy to open the new bottle, and regretted it quickly. Butter has a much lower smoke point than olive oil, which means it will go up in flames easily over high heat. Mixing with olive oil lowers the smoke point, adding safety as well as extra flavor. I saw a few flames licking up from the side of my pan — seriously! — and quickly removed it from the heat and drizzled in some oil. Whew!
Now place in the protein of your choosing, not moving it around a whole lot. Let it sear on one side, cook a couple minutes (depending on what you’re cooking), and turn and repeat. We’ll get into testing doneness another time, but for now we’ll just say cook until just done.
Remove meat and drain off any huge amounts of fat remaining; a little butter/oil is OK. My pork chops were lean so I did not drain.
At this point, if you have veggies and time, you can chop up some aromatics (onion, garlic, scallions, etc.) and sauté quickly before the next step. We were hungry. I didn’t.
Now you have to get that sticky, yummy stuff up somehow, through a process called deglazing. You basically just pour in any flavorful liquid, such as stock, wine, etc. I used about half a cup of chicken stock and half a cup of dry white wine. (I heard that gasp, CBC friends… I only cook with it…LOL!) Whisk or use a spoon (wooden works best) and scrape up all the yummy goodness. If you use alcohol, be sure to remove your pan from the heat for a moment while you pour, or you may get napalmed!
I also added a tablespoon of Dijon mustard at this point, as well as some torn sage leaves. Whisk/stir until reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
Now add a couple tablespoons of milk or cream, or a tablespoon of butter, and whisk together. Taste, then season with salt and pepper, and you’ve got a killer pan sauce!
This is strong stuff, so you’ll only need a tablespoon or so for each serving. If you want, you can add the protein back to the pan and turn it once in the sauce over medium heat, especially if the meat cooled off or needs a bit more cooking time.
If you’ve never made a pan sauce before, it’s time to get Fancy Pants! This can be super simple or elegant. I’m sure over time we’ll have the chance to show you more options.