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The 5-Minute Trick That Makes Every Meat Dish Better

Do diddly, look genius—that's the magic of pan sauces.

Everyday Sauce for Sauteed Chicken Breast

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Shallots

Photo by MamaToNikolas

Anytime you cook chicken, you can propel it into nom-nom-nom territory with this simple pan sauce. Just take the chicken out once it's done, add garlic and shallots to the pan, stir in white wine and/or chicken broth, cook about 5 minutes to thicken, and add butter. Pour over the chicken. Wow time. The 5-star recipe in full: Pan-Seared Chicken Breast with Shallots.

Red Wine Sauce for Steak

Easy Flat Iron Steak in Wine Sauce

Photo by Kay

A good red wine does double-duty when you make steak—you can use it to make a pan sauce and then drink it with dinner. The method in Easy Flat Iron Steak in Wine Sauce couldn't be easier: Once the steak is cooked, pour the wine into the pan, scrape up all the tasty brown meat bits, then add in some sliced mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes—this cooks the mushrooms—then add the steak back into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.

5-Minute Cream Sauce for Fish by a Guy Who Should Know

Pan Fried Halibut Steak with Light Green Sauce

Photo by cookin'mama

This method comes from a fisherman in British Columbia so you can't go wrong. Fry halibut (or any white fish). Take the fish out when it's done, pour in white wine, lemon juice, and cream. Once the sauce thickens, season it with fresh herbs and capers. Spoon it over the fish and wait for oohs and ahhs. This is easy enough that you could do it like our B.C. fisherman probably does, down in the cabin of his boat after a long day of trawling. The full recipe: Pan Fried Halibut Steak with Light Green Sauce.

Marsala Sauce for Pork (or any Meat)

Pork Marsala

Photo by KGora

You've seen it in restaurants, probably for around 18 bucks. Must be hard to make, right? Require years of special training? Not really. In this 5-star recipe for Pork Marsala, you pour the Marsala wine into the cooking pan about 15 minutes before the pork is done. The sauce thickens while the meat cooks. It's a zero-minute trick! You'll do the same in our top-rated recipes for Chicken Marsala, and Veal Marsala. Feel free to take some of the money you save and mail me a check c/o Allrecipes, 413 Pine Street Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98101. (wink)

So So Easy Mustard Sauce

It just gets easier, folks. Any time you make meat, you can make this dijon sauce with just 3 extra ingredients. Chef John shows you how in this vintage video and explains the basic technique.

As Chef John points out in the video, pan sauces are all pretty much the same.
1) Deglaze the pan you've cooked in with some sort of liquid, and reduce.
2) Add some sort of flavoring.
3) Finish with butter or other cream-type item.

Use the ideas above, or come up with your own experiments. Just have fun with it—whoever you're serving will definitely have fun eating it.

About Seth Kolloen