A well-prepared beef sauce enhances the flavor of your dish and can offset the dryness you may encounter with low-fat cuts of beef such as beef tenderloin. The foundation of a good sauce is homemade stock. However, beef stock can take several hours to prepare. Following an alternative method, which uses commercially prepared broth, saves you time and effort. Use the pan in which you prepared your dish to take advantage of the added flavor of any meat or juices still left in the pan.
Coarsely chop 1/4 cup of carrot and onion. Chop about 2 tbsp. of celery. You can omit the celery if you find the flavor too strong.
Heat one1 tbsp. of canola oil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until soft, about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of red wine or brandy.
Add 2 cups of commercial beef broth to the pan along with a sprig each of fresh parsley and thyme. Add a half of bay leaf and 1/2 tsp. of whole black peppercorns.
Simmer the mixture gently until it is reduced by one half or about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the broth and set aside.
Prepare your beef dish. When the dish is finished, remove the beef from the pan and cover with aluminum foil.
Finely chop one shallot.
Place the cooking pan from the beef on the stove. Add 2 tbsp. of butter and the chopped shallots and saute for about two minutes.
Add 2 tbsp. flour to the saucepan to make a roux to thicken your beef sauce. Stir the pan constantly for about two minutes with a whisk.
Deglaze with 2 tbsp. of red wine or brandy, being sure to scrape up any browned bits. This mixture will form the flavor base of your beef sauce or fond and give it complexity.
Add the prepared broth to the pan. Stir the contents, incorporating the flour mixture into the broth. Allow the mixture to reduce to 1/2 or about five minutes. Stir the sauce frequently, preventing the flour mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Sauce will thicken and take on the consistency of thin pancake batter.
Add 1 tbsp. of butter to finish the sauce off of the heat. Check seasonings and adjust as necessary. Serve with your beef dish.
- "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1"; Julia Child; 2001
- What's Cooking America: Linda's Culinary Dictionary - R
- Use low-sodium beef broth to prevent an overly salty sauce.
- Use beef broth sold in cartons rather than cans to avoid the metallic taste associated with canned products.
- Use caution when adding alcohol to the pan for deglazing to prevent flare-ups and splatters. Take pan off of the heat to add the liquid and then proceed with the recipe.
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