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A Brief Guide to Making Pan Sauces

by Mary Sacks

A Brief Guide to Making Pan Sauces

Is it sauce or gravy? This is an argument in which I refuse to participate. I learned my kitchen skills working for some pretty good chefs. It was always their contention that if it was made from pan drippings it was gravy and if it was made from a liquid such as stock, broth, milk, etc. it was a sauce. End of discussion.

We are going to talk about how to adjust the flavors of those gravies/sauces to create different tastes to accompany your main courses.

Professional kitchens keep a couple of things in their pantry so that everything doesn’t need to be made from scratch:

  1. Broth / Stock Concentrates
  2. Demi-Glace Mix
  3. Gravy Mixes
  4. Instant Food Thickener / Roux


I just finished sautéing a couple of chicken breasts for dinner. I remove them from the pan onto a plate to allow to rest.

Now what? Put a touch of oil in the pan, add some chopped garlic. Stir and sweat and add ½ cup sliced mushrooms, ½ cup chopped tomatoes, pinches of basil, oregano, and thyme. Pour in ½ cup chicken stock/broth, cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 pat of butter, add the chicken back to the pan to coat with the sauce and serve.

Now, that wasn’t so hard! By the way, you just created Chicken with Sorrento Sauce.

Stock Vegetables Seasoning Finish Name Protein
Beef Broth Scallions Basil
Black Pepper
Dry Sherry
Sour Cream
Britany Sauce Pan-Fried Steak
Pork Chops
Chicken Broth Carrots
Curry Powder Dry Vermouth
Heavy Cream
Curry Sauce Chicken Breasts
Turkey Fillets
Vegetable Broth Garlic
Parsley Tomato Juice Marengo Sauce Any Sauté Dish 
Seafood Broth Chives Parsley
Dijon Mustard
Heavy Cream Tarragon Sauce Fish Fillets
RC Gluten-Free Instant Food Thickener is perfect for sprinkling into your sauce because it just doesn't have enough thickness to adhere to the protein. This product can be used in both cold and hot broths. Rule: Less is better.

Mary Sacks
Mary Sacks


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