4 Tips for a Better Sauce
4 Tips for a Better Sauce

The secret to turning a basic meal into something exciting often lies in the sauce. Follow these tips for making sauce that’s sure to make you seem more like a restaurant chef:

start with fresh ingredients
A sauce is only as good as the ingredients you put in it. Make homemade stock to use as the base. If there’s no time for homemade, choose a high-quality boxed or canned stock or a rich demi-glace in the grocery aisle. You don’t need to use high-end wine, but make sure it’s drinkable before adding it to your sauce.

reduce and deglaze to boost flavor
After you’re finished braising meat, remove it from the pan and reduce the heat to a low-to-medium simmer. This process causes the amount of braising liquid to decrease while the flavors increase. Or after you sear meat or vegetables, cook your sauce in the same pan. Deglaze the pan by adding your liquids of choice and scraping the flavorful, browned bits from the pan into a sauce.

add something to thicken, if needed
Sometimes reducing stock is enough to thicken a sauce. If you need something more, consider a vegetable purée. Another option is to use a roux, a mixture of flour and fat cooked together.

finish with seasoning
Salt is a component of many sauce ingredients, but its flavor gets stronger as it cooks. Avoid a sauce that’s too salty by tasting it near the end of cooking and adding salt as needed. That’s also a good time to stir in some fresh herbs to finish.