I’ve heard it said that the main difference between home cooking and restaurant fare is that, in a restaurant, everything has a sauce. Well, a few weeks ago, the words of my four year old got me thinking. Looking at a very nice plate of vegetables and steak, he scanned the table and asked, “Mommy, where is your wine reduction sauce?”
Hmmm. I felt somewhat indignant that I have raised a child with such high expectations for weekday lunch. But, I take his point. A meal must have balance. Dry food is hard to eat.
There are times when I don’t have to think about it – a meal like stew takes care of the problem by itself. Otherwise, I find it helpful to fill our sauceboat with something, anything. Sometimes, it’s just apple sauce. Or yogurt. Now that I’ve shared a couple of my tricks, what’s your go to sauce?
- Pan Drippings from Cooking Steak
- ¼ Cup Diced Onion
- ½ Cup Red Wine
- A Heavy Dash of Salt
- 2 Sprigs of Rosemary
- 2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
- 2 Tbs Butter (optional)
- Once your steaks have cooked, they need to rest. So, transfer the steaks from their pan onto a cutting board. Then put the pan and its drippings over medium high heat. If there aren’t many drippings, I toss in a couple tablespoons of butter.
- Add an unmeasured ¼ cup of diced onion. Any onion will do, but shallots are my favorite. Cook the onion for a few minutes, until translucent.
- Add an unmeasured ½ cup of red wine. I use this sauce to use up old wine, or I use making the sauce as an excuse to open a new bottle. Add the rosemary sprigs and salt, then let the wine cook down for about five minutes, stirring a few times.
- Now is a good time to taste the sauce. If you like the balance of sweetness and saltiness, you can leave it be. Often, I find I would like the sauce both saltier and sweeter. I add a little more salt, and add a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar has the added bonus of darkening the sauce, which seems to be more appealing to adults and children, alike.
- Enjoy! It’s so delicious, we usually pour it over every part of the meal.