Pan Sauce (Classic)

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This is the classic method for making a pan sauce and is suitable for any meat dish that requires saucing.


Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4 - 6


  1. Peel and chop the vegetables and the meat into thumbnail sized pieces. (The pictures in this recipe are for a lamb sauce, but the method is the same for all of them.) preparing the ingredients
  2. Fry the meat in a large sauce pan with the oil until it is browned all over and then add the carrot and shallot (or onion) and fry until it is also brown. frying off the ingredients
  3. Put in the rest of the vegetables and fry them for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the alcohol, add the herbs and spices and give it a good stir to remove the caramelised residue from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half and then pour in the water (if the recipe uses it) and reduce it by half again. Then pour in the stock.
  6. Stir it once more, turn down the heat and simmer it gently for an hour and a half or until it has reduced by two thirds, skimming off any fat that floats to the surface. skimming the fat
  7. Strain it through a sieve lined with a piece of muslin or kitchen paper into another pan. straining through a sieve
  8. Either reduce by half again to get the desired consistency or (if you want more sauce) add some thinkener such as cornflour mixed with a little cold water. pan sauce
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Useful Information

Can it be frozen? Yes.
Can it be prepared in advance? Yes, it can be finished up to 4 days in advance.
Will leftovers be nice? Yes, for up to 4 days.


- If you accidentally burn any of the ingredients prior to adding the port (or wine) and it actually smells burnt, just tip the ingredients into another pan and carry on with the recipe. This is because the burn is stuck to the pan and if you leave it, the sauce will taste burnt. Obviously, if the ingredients are so badly burnt they have turned to dust, you should start again.

- It is very important to skim off the fat at the beginning because otherwise, the fat will sink back into the sauce making it cloudy and fatty.

- When straining the sauce, the best material to line the sieve with is muslin. This is because it is strong and has a fine weave. You can reuse the muslin after it has been washed by dampening it (this helps the sauce to pass through faster). If using kitchen paper, be careful as it has a tendancy to break if pushed too hard.

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