A pan sauce is the simplest way to dress up a piece of chicken. It can take a drab meal to restaurant quality in about 10 minutes. Any home cook can easily learn how to master the pan sauce, and you should, immediately, to take your kitchen game to the next level with minimal effort. Try any of these easy pan sauce variations for chicken and you’ll quickly see this skill is a necessity.
Pan sauces always follow the same formula, so once you master the technique you can make an endless number of sauces by varying the base, the herbs or vegetables, the sky’s the limit.
Step 1. Cook the Meat
Sear your chicken in a large skillet with oil or butter. Cook each side for about 5 minutes then remove from the pan.
Step 2. Saute Aromatics
To your skillet, add minced garlic and chopped onions or shallots and cook until tender. Add more oil or butter if needed to cook the vegetables. Consider adding mushrooms to make a heartier sauce, or not.
Step 3. Deglaze the Pan
This is the first step where you can start to experiment. Use a broth or wine to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. This may seem odd at first, like you are mixing in burnt chicken into your sauce, but really these caramelized chicken bits bring in a lot of flavor to your sauce, so don’t leave any behind.
Step 4. Season
Season the sauce with salt and pepper and fresh herbs. Don’t be shy with the herbs.
Step 5. Concentrate
Add broth and simmer to concentrate the sauce. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in more butter until melted for a rich flavorful pan sauce. Don’t forget to season to taste before adding to the meat. You can either return your meat to the sauce to finish cooking, or finish cooking the meat in the oven and drizzle the sauce over the cooked meat. The pan sauce is all about chef’s choice.
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