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Whenever I try and make a pan sauce after cooking a steak I find I am adding almost a whole stick of butter before it even starts to thicken

What am I doing wrong? Also when I sauté shrimp the butter garlic sauce isn't creamy enough.

asked by Natasha Jackson about 5 years ago
7 answers 1856 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 5 years ago

How are you making your pan sauce?

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 5 years ago

It's really hard to know what's happening without knowing what other ingredients you are using to make the sauce. If you are deglazing the pan with a liquid (picking up all the lovely brown bits and fond that have developed in the pan while cooking the meat), and then you cook that resulting liquid down to nearly a syrup, you should need only a "chunk" of butter to "silken" the sauce.

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 5 years ago

Often times you'll read about using butter to "thicken" a pan sauce. Chef June uses a much better term above. Also, the butter should be very cold, you want to "mount" it off heat, and serve immediately. Properly done, the butter remains emulsified after it melts into the sauce. There is a little thickening but it's more about mouthfeel and taste.

Edfe409e 4744 406a 98e8 9c239638ad31  img 1965
added about 5 years ago

I think it depends on how you're making your sauce, so this might not answer your question at all, but I usually make it the same way I make turkey or chicken gravy: first make a butter and flour roux, add whatever stock you're using, bring it to a simmer and then add that to your roasting pan after you deglaze it with a bit of wine. This is just my made up methods but it's worked okay for me in the past. If you're making it a different way or not using stock you can ignore this answer! Usually I don't have enough drippings to make a sauce without adding more liquid to it.

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 5 years ago

Sorry, I forgot about the shrimp: If you desire a creamier sauce, you can finish with a splash of heavy cream.

0bc70c8a e153 4431 a735 f23fb20dda68  sarah chef

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 5 years ago

In addition to the above responses, and assuming you're using stock in your pan sauce - the quality of your beef stock could also be a factor in thickening. If you're using homemade stock and the bones didn't have enough collagen (or the stock wasn't made well), the sauce could be difficult to reduce to the right consistency.

Or - if you're using store bought stock, try to find the kind that resembles soft jello at fridge temp (usually available at high quality butchers or specialty stores).

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