Sauté with a Pan Sauce

How To: Sauté and Create a Pan Sauce

Sautéing is a minimalist art when it comes to preparation, ingredients, and time. It’s a one-pan technique that gives tender cuts of meat and poultry a flavorful and crusty exterior with a juicy interior in a matter of minutes. And, when you remove the item from the pan, you’ve got the makings of a pan sauce to grace your presentation.

Thin cuts of boneless meat and poultry are the best candidates for sautéing, including tournedos of beef, minute and tenderloin steaks, boneless chicken breasts and thighs, veal scaloppine and medallions, pork tenderloin medallions, and fresh sausages.

For cuts thicker than 1/4-inch (except fresh sausages and tournedos of beef), place the meat between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and pound flat to a uniform thickness.

As for equipment, a straight-sided sauté pan or a traditional slope-sided frying pan of stainless steel, copper, or aluminum are the best choices for a pan that reacts quickly to changes in temperature from the heat of sautéing to the gentle simmer of the pan sauce.

To watch a video of this tutorial, click here.

tutorial image 1
tutorial image 2
tutorial image 3
tutorial image 4
tutorial image 5
tutorial image 6
tutorial image 7
tutorial image 8
tutorial image 9

The Steps

  • Step 1 Assemble all your ingredients before beginning to cook. Remove meat or poultry from refrigerator. Pat dry and let rest between paper towels. Allow it to come up to room temperature, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 2 Season meat or poultry with salt and pepper.
  • Step 3 Heat grape seed oil or olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. (Use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of each, depending on size of pan and amount of meat.)
  • Step 4 Sauté meat or poultry on each side in a single layer until golden brown. Do not crowd. Cook in batches, if necessary.
  • Step 5 Remove the sautéed items from the pan and place on a platter. Set platter into a 180°F oven to keep warm.
  • Step 6 Add stock to the pan. The amount of stock will vary with the amount of meat being cooked. Estimate 1 cup of stock per 2 adult servings.
  • Step 7 Raise heat and cook 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid has reduced by 1/4 to 1/3 of the starting volume, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
  • Step 8 To finish the sauce, swirl in a pat of butter to bind and thicken the sauce as well as to add richness and sheen.
  • Step 9 To serve, place the cooked meat or poultry on individual plates. Nap with a small amount of sauce and serve the remaining sauce on the side at table.