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Oct 1, 2012 12:37 PM

What sauces bottle well?

I've been trying to make pan sauces whenever I saute pork chops or chicken breasts. The thing is, sometimes I don't want to take the time to make the pan sauce before I got to eat.

Noticing a bottle of barbecue sauce in my fridge, realized I should be trying to bottle the pan sauce after I make it. So that at worst after sauteing the protein, I just pour some pan sauce in and warm it up when I'm in a hurry. And maybe I could find some pan sauces that taste good cold? Like barbecue sauce does.

Are there any guidelines for what will and what will not bottle well in a sauce? I've tried putting left over gravy from Thanksgiving in the fridge, the texture always seems kind of weird when it's reheated.

For my pan sauces, I haven't been using butter to thicken them. As a thickener, I've been whisking together 2 tablespoons of whole milk and a half teaspoon of cornstarch to make them lighter, a tip I got from Cook's Illustrated. No idea how that will affect storing the sauces.

Anybody tried this? Anybody knows guidelines for what does and does not bottle well?

I'm not thinking I need to sterilize the bottles because I don't imagine storing them in the fridge for longer than a month or two, if they'll last that long...

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  1. Vinegar based sauces have very long holding times. Vinaigrettes, mustards, ketchups all have a lot of vinegar. You could, also store prepared roux in the fridge for quite a while.

    I keep "Better than Bouillon" low sodium chicken and beef bases in the fridge for a quick sauce.

    Freezing stocks in ice cube trays and then storing them in ziploc bags in the freezer is very handy for quickly producing a sauce.

    Demi-glace is nice to have in the fridge.

    For a ready chicken or beef sauce, I would heat up chicken or beef broth from the can (real stock is better). I would add some beef or chicken base to it to intensify the flavor. You can even add a tiny bit of gelatin to it to give it that gelatinous mouth feel.

    If you add the cornstarch, it will probably settle to the bottom of the jar. I would just keep the stocks available and add the cornstarch when I needed it.

    A beef mushroom gravy would be handy to keep in the fridge.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      Keeping prepared broths in the fridge is what I already do. I just buy the Swanson chicken and beef broths. It's the putting wine (I substitute vermouth because it lasts in the fridge longer) and broth in the pan, then waiting for it to reduce by half, then putting the thickener in (butter, cornstarch, whatever) and then waiting for the thickener to do it's thing that takes so long.

      Storing the pan sauce before you add the thickener to it sounds like a good idea. After sautéing the protein, could pour the stored pan sauce in the pan, warm it up, then add the thickener. That would cut out a lot of time waiting for the broth and the wine to reduce.

      But you say you get roux and gravy to stay okay for you in the fridge, I guess it's possible the pan sauce will stay in the fridge with the cornstarch in it.. I may try that first, if it doesn't work, try storing it without the cornstarch.

      I'm really hoping to find something that will last 2 months in the fridge in an air-tight container. That would be ideal if I could just sauté a chicken breast or pork chop and then pour some pan sauce on it out of a bottle. Or even if I just had to also warm up the sauce, that wouldn't be so bad.

      Going to look up what Demi-glacé is now.

      1. re: levander

        Demi glace is just really really reduced beef stock. reduced to a syrup. Sometimes it is thickened with a roux also.

        You could store corn starch thickened sauce, You would have to stir it to incorporate the starch as it would tend to settle. I haven't noticed roux thickened gravy separate though.

        I use a lot of roux thickened gravy. I want my roux tan in color not just white so it takes about 5 -8 minutes to make so I make big batches of it and keep it in a canning jar in the fridge.

        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Yeah, I went and read about demi-glace. I just read on Wikipedia, but there was a note in there, something like it keeps forever frozen and for six months in the refrigerator. Amazing! If it's true...

          But apparently, demi-glace is 1 part espagnole sauce, and 1 part veal stock. And then, espagnole is mostly veal stock also, so I don't know why you combine it with more veal stock to make demi-glace... But, whatever. The thing that makes me question it though is espagnole sauce has a lotta tomatoes in it... Tomatoes is the one thing I'm horribly finnicky about. I rarely will eat a tomato at a restaurant. I have to be in the right mood to eat one from a grocery store. Although, I'll eat pizza and spaghetti with meatballs (not meat sauce, has to be meatballs) all day long.. Go figure.

          So, I'm wondering how much I'll like demi-glace with the tomatoes in it.

          But demi-glace was a great hint. Looking it up led me to another mother sauce, forget what it's called now, that's based on a blonde roux and some stock, no tomatoes. I forget what it's called now. But I wonder how well that well keep in the fridge...

          I just looked it up, called Sauce Velout. Two of the other mother sauces are dairy based, I doubt how well they'll keep in the fridge. I think I remember dairy doesn't freeze very well. And then the last mother sauce, Sauce Tomate. Like I said, I'm weird about tomatoes. No thanks.

          1. re: levander

            You cannot detect the tomatoes in the Demi glacé, honestly. It's more for umami effect than flavoring.

            1. re: levander

              I don't use tomatoes but I do use tomato paste. I paint it on the bone marrow while roasting the meat bones. The problem with beef stock and even more so demi glace is time and expense. It generally cost me about $15 for 1 gallon of beef stock. Veal stock would cost even more. Then you have to keep reducing it down and reducing it down until you end up with maybe a quart of demi glace... maybe. On top of that, it will probably take a weekend.

              For you, it doesn't go well on pork or chicken but anytime you buy yourself some prime ribeye, you got the stuff for it. How often do you eat prime ribeye?...once a month?

              Veloute is something you would use more often as it goes well with chicken.

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                Ah good, thanks for pointing that out. I would have been so ticked off if I made a bunch of demi-glacé only to find out it doesn't go that good with pork or chicken.

                I'll have to look up and see if velouté is recommended to go with pork.

                And Dirty, thanks for the note about tomatoes in demi-glacé being limited. I bet it would like it pretty well now that I know there are no tomatoes.

                But now I'm back to wondering if I should be making the pan sauces I have been making for storing rather than mess with these French sauces. Like Hank said in his first post in this thread, vinegar makes stuff last longer. Looking around the Internet, the reason vinegar is a good preservative is because of it's high acidity. And these pan sauces I've been making, I've been bouncing back and forth between making them 50% wine and 25% wine (or vermouth in my case), wine being high in acidity. All this knowledge is suspect thoug, I've just gleamed it in the last day, bouncing around the Internet.

                I have seen it said that Demi-glacé stores really well, seen it in addition to Hank saying it in this thread. But the ingredients for Demi-glacé that I've seen, there's no preservatives I know of, other that the little bit of tomatoes being acidic. So, I would guess that those pan sauces I'm messing with store longer than demi-glacé. But I've seen that Demi-glacé stores really long, so who knows.

                1. re: levander

                  We get a jar of it from Williams Sonoma as a gift every Christmas and keep it in the freezer. It is the secret ingredient in our Beef Bourguignon among other things. It ain't cheap but worth every penny IMHO.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Yeah, hot sauce is another sauce that tastes good cold. I wish I knew why some sauces taste good cold and others don't. Like I've never tried my pan sauces cold or gravy cold, but I don't imagine they'd be very good that way.

              Barbecue sauce is the other sauce that's mentioned above which tastes good cold.