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How to Make Reduction Sauces
What Is a Reduction Sauce?
A reduction sauce is a way to make use of the flavor left residing in a pan after food has been sauted. A reduction in cooking is any time liquid is cooked until its volume is lessened. It greatly concentrates flavors. It's an excellent method for making a complementary sauce for your food that's full of flavor. The process thickens the sauce without adding any thickeners to it.
How to Make Reduction Sauces- What Kind of Liquids to Use and How Much
The steps to make reduction sauces are very easy to do and basic.
First, remove everything from the pan.
Then add your choice of liquid. This can be plain water, broth, milk, wine, or something else. Vinegars make delicious reduction sauces! Don't use canned or storebought broth or stock unless it is sodium free. They are too salty and will ruin your reduction sauce. The same is true for cooking wines. Use only wines meant for drinking in your sauce.
Add twice as much liquid as the amount of sauce you require. This is because, true to its name, the liquid content will be reduced. If you are adding more than one type of liquid, add them one at a time, never together. For example, if you are adding both wine and cream, add the wine first and reduce like described below. Then add the cream and do again.
How to Make Reduction Sauces Continued
Add your choice of herbs and spices. Don't add any salt to the reduction sauce until it is completely reduced. This is because if any of the ingredients already contain salt, the flavor will be intensified, just like all flavors in a reduction sauce. Salt may not be needed at all.
Turn burner on high. Stir the sauce constantly with a wooden spoon, being sure to scrape along the bottom of the pan to pull away the tasty browned bits, known as fond. These help provide the rich flavors. Eventually, most of the fond will dissolve into the sauce. This is called deglazing. It's what helps give the reduction sauce its flavor.
Keep stirring until the liquid has been reduced by about half. Remember that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, so you want to stop the reduction process just before it's the ideal thickness you desire. You can test the reduction sauce by dipping a spoon in it. If it coats the spoon, the consistency is good. The cool spoon will cause the tested sauce results to be close to its same consistency after it has cooled.
Strain the sauce to remove any unappealing particles.
That's all there is to it! Your reduction sauce is done. You can stir in a little bit of butter or a delicate olive oil before serving if you like.