You've seen them on restaurant menus at fancy places. Braised Beef Medallions with Cognac Reduction. Roast Muscovy Duck With Cherry-Port Reduction. Venison with Rosemary-Basalmic Reduction. They may sound exotic, but they're quite easy to prepare at home on your own!
You, too, can dazzle your family and dinner guests with chi-chi reduction sauces at very little time and cost.
A reduction sauce is often a sauce made with the drippings and juices left over after cooking meat. These drippings are dense in flavor and make a sauce that is intense with the cooking flavors from the dish. Other ingredients are added to these drippings to create a reduction sauce, ranging from cream to vinegar to alcohol.
To make a basic reduction with meat drippings, follow these easy steps:
1. Remove the meat, chicken, or vegetables from your roasting or sauté pan.
2. Add a cup or so of water or other liquid.
3. Turn the heat to high.
4. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any solids left from cooking, until the liquid is reduced in quantity by about half.
5. Stir in some softened butter or cream.
And that's it! You can add other items such as thickening agents (e.g. flour) and spices of your choice.
If you aren't making a reduction based on meat drippings, start with a small sauce pan and boil down a cup or two of liquid (such as balsamic vinegar or wine) until it's reduced by half and has a syrupy texture. The resulting reduction can be drizzled over your main dish.