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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Cooking > Sauces, Dips & Salsa

5 Simple Tips for Making Sauces at Home
by GatewayGourmet

Making a sauce at home for your grilled steak or sautéed chicken breast can turn something good into something better. If you are like most home cooks, you may shy away from taking on a wild mushroom sauce or classic Marsala Sauce.

Here are a few sauce making tips that may help you when you are making your next sauce at home.

1. Have all your ingredients ready before you actually start cooking. Professionals call this mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs). Nothing complicates sauce making more than trying to do too many things at one time.

2. Use the proper sauce pan. Your saucepans should be made of materials that conduct heat effectively throughout the entire pan. You want it to have a heavy bottom so your sauces don't burn.

For sauce making, stay away from non-stick pans. They are great for cooking omelets, but prevent the essential caramelized "fond" from forming after browning meat in the pan.

3. Reducing a sauce means to simmer the sauce until it reaches its desired thickness. When it is thick enough to coat a spoon it is ready. You don't want it to boil during this process because it can burn the sauce, make it foam up, and/or spill over the top of the pan.

"Reducing by half," means to reduce the amount of liquid in the pan by half. You don't have to measure it out, just make a rough guess to what half would look like.

4. Add a tab or two of unsalted cold butter at the end. This is called "mounting" and adds flavor, smoothness and additional shine to the sauce.

5. Don't walk away from the saucepan. If you don't want to burn the sauce or have it congeal on you, you want to stay close to the stovetop keeping your eye on the sauce. That doesn't mean you can't do anything else to get the meal served, but you want to be close enough to stir or lower the heat if necessary.

Copyright (c) GatewayGourmet

Discover GatewayGourmet's new eCookbook, How to Make Restaurant Quality Sauces at Home in as little as 20 minutes. Filled with over 75 recipes for making classic sauces, soups and pasta sauces, find it at http://www.gatewaygourmet.com

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