Adapted from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman

Time: 10 minutes; makes 1/2 cup

All of this takes place after cooking, in the same skillet or roasting pan in which you cooked whatever it is you’re dressing. Keep your food warm in a low oven if necessary while you prepare the sauce. Or just add the food back to the pan with the finished sauce and heat through for a minute or so.

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or onion
  • 1/2 cup dry white (for fish, poultry, or vegetables) or red (for red meats) wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar (optional)
  • Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Pour off all but 1 or 2 tablespoons of the cooking fat (if there are dark, non-fatty juices in the skillet or roasting pan leave them in there). Turn the heat under the skillet or pan to medium-high and add the shallot and the wine. Cook, stirring and scraping, until most of the wine has evaporated, the shallot is soft, and the bottom of the pan is clean.

2. Add stock and repeat; when there is just under 1/2 cup of liquid, turn off heat. Add the butter, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition to incorporate it. Taste and season if necessary with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice or vinegar.

3. Spoon sauce over meat, garnish and serve.

Learn Mark's reduction sauce basics