How to Make a Simple Pan Sauce For Pan-Fried Chicken
Most of us are comfortable with pan-frying a chicken breast or what some people call "saute a chicken breast", but how many go the extra step to make a simple pan sauce to serve with it? Making a pan sauce is easy and only adds a few minutes to the entire meal.
What Is A Pan Sauce?
A pan sauce is a flavorful sauce made in the same pan used to cook meat, poultry, or fish. It's typically created by deglazing the pan, which involves adding liquid, such as broth, wine, or vinegar, to the hot pan to loosen and dissolve the caramelized browned bits of food that have stuck to the bottom (known as fond or sucs). This process extracts all the flavorful elements left behind by the meat and incorporates them into the sauce.
After deglazing, additional ingredients such as herbs, spices, aromatics, and sometimes cream or butter are often added to enhance the flavor and texture of the sauce. The sauce is then simmered and reduced to thicken it slightly and concentrate the flavors. Finally, it's strained to remove any solids, resulting in a smooth and velvety sauce that perfectly complements the main dish.
Pan sauces are incredibly versatile and can be tailored to suit different types of proteins and flavor profiles. They add richness, depth, and complexity to dishes, elevating the overall dining experience.
Pan sauces are a hallmark of classic French cuisine and are widely used in various culinary traditions worldwide. They are a fantastic way to make the most of the delicious flavors created during the cooking process and can turn a simple dish into something truly special.
Fond and Sucs
Pan sauce fond refers to the flavorful browned bits that accumulate at the bottom of a pan when cooking meat, poultry, or fish. These browned bits are created through the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that occurs when proteins and sugars in the food react with heat, resulting in the development of complex and savory flavors.
The fond is a concentrated source of flavor, containing caramelized sugars, proteins, and other compounds that have been released from the food during the cooking process. To create a pan sauce, it adds depth, richness, and complexity to sauces when deglazed with liquid, such as broth, wine, or vinegar.
Deglazing the pan to incorporate the fond into the sauce is crucial in creating flavorful sauces. The liquid used for deglazing dissolves the fond, releasing all the savory goodness trapped in the browned bits and incorporating it into the sauce. This process adds depth and intensity to the sauce, enhancing the dish's overall taste.
Pan sauce fond is highly prized in culinary circles for its ability to elevate the flavor of sauces and dishes. It's a hallmark of classic French cuisine and is widely used in various culinary traditions worldwide to create delicious and memorable meals.
Sucs, also known as sucs bruns or sucs de cuisson, are essentially the same as fond but in French terminology. They refer specifically to the browned bits that develop on the bottom of a pan during cooking. Sucs are integral to the flavor development of sauces and are often deglazed to incorporate their rich flavors into the final dish.
My Pan Sauce for Chicken Video
This video demonstrates how to make a simple pan sauce for chicken using a deglazing liquid and stock. For more details about the process, the difference between a quick pan sauce versus a classic pan sauce, deglazing, ingredients to use, and a lot of information you may or may not find helpful, check out my post called Simple Pan Sauces.