The Sauciest Remark

August 29, 2013   |   4 Comments
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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?

Red Wine Reduction Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A simple sauce, this takes five minutes and turns a good meal into an excellent one.
  • 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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Enjoy! It’s so delicious, we usually pour it over every part of the meal.



  • Barbara Armstrong
    August 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Oooh, the pictures themselves are looking delectable! I can add a vote for the included recipe for the red wine reduction. I used a similar recipe for many years (absent the onion and rosemary) when I was making fancier meals than I am now. And those additions must take it up a notch. These days, I am going simpler, with sauces or salad dressings from the grocery that can be used on either salad or fish. A Dijon honey-mustard dressing I enjoy is great on salmon, or lightly drizzled on a mixed greens salad with roasted sunflower seeds. Oh my, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! Love these posts! –Barbara

  • Barbara Armstrong
    August 29, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    An additional post just to add a rating. –Barbara

  • Julie M.
    September 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Ha. If you asked my kids what their go-to sauce was I’m almost certain they’d say ketchup! I personally like pretty much any and all sauces. Anything alcohol based is usually a favorite – marsala, sherry, white/red wine… yum.

  • Lisa H.
    September 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    beautifully photographed 😀

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