Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

sauce essentials: french reduction

a recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

The French are well known for their reduction sauces. Take for example the classic demi-glace, depending on how it is made it can take from a few hours to all day. This reduction is not quite so involved, but the slow cooking with the shallots creates an intense flavor that is awesome. A little goes a long way. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

serves 1 - 2
prep time 10 Min
cook time 30 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For sauce essentials: french reduction

  • 3 Tbsp
    sweet butter, unsalted, divided
  • 1 lg
    shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp
    dry vermouth, not sweet
  • 2 c
    beef or chicken stock, homemade
  • 2 Tbsp
    heavy cream
  • salt, kosher variety, fine grind, to taste
  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

How To Make sauce essentials: french reduction

  • 1
  • 2
    What will you need? A good knife for fine chopping the shallot, and a medium sized saucepan.
  • 3
    This reduction sauce does not get its thickening power from something like flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder. It gets its from the gelatin in the beef or chicken stock. The problem is that store-bought stocks do not have enough of that essential ingredient to pull it off. Homemade stock that contains a good amount of gelatin will turn it into an almost jelly-like consistency. Most store-bought stocks are not even close. Another problem is that store-bought stock simply lacks sufficient flavor. When reduced, it just becomes salty and stronger in flavor, but not tastier. If you would like to take a shot at producing your own chicken or beef stock, you can try one of these three recipes. The third one is made in the pressure cooker and cuts the cooking time down considerably.
  • 4
    What to serve with it? This sauce is great on beef, chicken, or fish, and I love it on a pile of mash taters, however, it is a very flavorful sauce, so a little goes a long way.
  • 5
    How to store it? If I am doing homemade sauces, I love using Weck jars. They are glass, come in all sizes and shapes, and have excellent leakproof lids. If you shop online, you can go to Amazon, type in “Weck Jars” and you will find a ton of them. They last forever, unless you break them, and they are very reasonable, price wise. If properly stored in the fridge, this French reduction should last 8 – 10 days. FYI: This sauce can be frozen, and in which case it will last for several months. Easy/Peasy.
  • 6
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 7
    Finely chop the shallot. You should have about 2 tablespoons.
  • 8
    Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Reserve the additional tablespoon of butter for later in the recipe.
  • 9
    When melted, add the shallot, and slowly cook until softened, but not browned, about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • 10
    Add the vermouth, turn up the hit a bit, and constantly stir until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 – 3 minutes. Again, make sure that the shallots do not brown.
  • 11
    If the shallots look like they are going brown, take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool down a bit.
  • 12
    Add the beef or chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Occasionally, stir and allow the sauce to reduce by about 3/4, and begins to thicken. The time will be based on your pan size, and heat, about 8 – 10 minutes, or longer.
  • 13
    Add the cream, and slowly simmer until the sauce changes from pale to light brown, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • 14
    Remove from the heat and season with some salt and pepper.
  • 15
    If the sauce is still too thin, you can simmer it for a bit more time.
  • 16
    Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the shallots.
  • 17
    The final step is called “mounting” the sauce. Cut the final tablespoon of butter into four cubes and whisk it into the reduction. This creates a silky flavory layer to the sauce. You should have about 3 ounces of pure flavor. Ahh, the French have a love affair with butter.
  • 18
  • So Yummy
    Drizzle a bit on your favorite beef, chicken, or fish, and enjoy.
  • 20
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
  • Peace to all