You want something quick, something to impress, something to make you say, "aaahhh!" Nothing fits the bill like a reduction sauce. Full of flavor, and either transparent or creamy, always luxurious and sinful; you can do it!!
True to form, I did not think of making these two dishes until hours before the meal was to commence. And I frequently create a good reduction sauce when I want to impress and don't have much time. Let me break it down for you and explain step by step how you can create these and dozens of other combinations using these simple techniques.
First, let's talk about a sauce that is served with a savory meat. In this case, both dishes I served were beef. One was sirloin tips, the other Filet Mignon. The point is, you borrow some of the richness from seared meat, using the little cooked bits to take your sauce from so-so to sexy in no time. It is a 4 part process that consists of:
1. Sear the meat and remove it from the pan, leaving drippings and seared bits on the bottom of the pan. Remove meat and set aside under foil.
2. Deglaze the pan using some kind of liquid (like stock or wine and in this case I used Port and stock) which pulls all of that yumminess into the sauce. Then add other liquid if needed such as water or additional wine for volume. Let that simmer for a few minutes.
3. Add aromatics and/or seasonings to enhance and bind together your theme of flavors. For me it was mushrooms in one, and fruit preserves for the other. (If you are not using a meat, you can start by searing your aromatics like onions, mushrooms, vegetables, fennel, etc. in butter or oil. And then you can simply add the acid at that time to deglaze and reduce. Here I let the mushrooms and onions cook in the reduction liquid. Seasoning as needed.
4. Once you've done the above, you can complete by either thickening the sauce, making it creamy, or adding butter to give it shine and softness in the mouth. Then, return the meat to the pan and let it gently simmer to complete the cooking of the meat.
BAM. You just created a reduction sauce. Take a look at how beautiful it looks! At the end I thickened with a bit of corn starch so it would stay transparent. And it all went over beautifully mashed yukons flavored with coriander, tumeric and dill. See the slide show for close up photos of the finished product!
Now, here are some photos of the other reduction sauce I made using filet mignon cubes, using fruit preserves and stock for flavor, and it all crowned a savory rice with bacon, over roasted broccoli.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.