If you don't know what deglazing is, let us introduce you to one
of the cook's best friends! Deglazing is a cooking technique that introduces extra layers of
flavors to a dish by bringing in the little browned bits dry cooking methods leave in the bottom of
the pan - those tasty little caramelized pieces that would otherwise get left
behind. Deglazing is a great way to incorporate those pan
flavors and to create a sauce, either a simple 'au jus' or a thicker or more sophisticated pan
sauce or gravy.
The Definition of Deglazing
As appetizing as it is to talk about little brown bits, there's actually
a word for the little 'deposits' of caramelized ingredients left at the bottom of the pan when you
sautee, pan-fry or roast: fond. (Learn something new every day, right?) Deglazing is a cooking
technique where a cooking liquid - frequently wine or another liquor, or stock - is added
to that pan over heat to dissolve the fond into that liquid.
The answer is simple: flavor! Browning through dry heat
cooking develops intense and complex flavors. Some of the tasty browned
food end up stuck to the bottom of the pan together with caramelized juices and rendered
fat. Deglazing lets you use all that flavorful matter that would otherwise be left behind,
mixing it with a tasty cooking liquid that can then be further developed by adding a
thickener such as flour or butter or simply by reducing the sauce to concentrate the
How to Deglaze?
Start with a pan you've used for roasting, sauteeing
or pan-frying meat or vegetables. Drain off excess fat left in the pan if there's more than 1-2
tbsps. With the pan over medium-high heat, add 1-2 cups of a dry white or red wine, sherry or
madeira, or low-sodium stock. Use a wooden spoon to gently scrape up the browned bits and dissolve
them into the cooking liquid. This sauce can then be used as is (this would be an 'au jus') or you
can use this as a starter sauce, and take it from there.
Deglazing is a technique we use frequently, including these recipes on
Easy Food and Wine:
NY Strip Steak with Red Wine Sauce
Chicken with Green Olives and Caper
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