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What is Deglazing?

From a Definition to When
and How to Deglaze


What is Deglazing

If you don't know what deglazing is, let us introduce you to one of the cook's best friends! Deglazing is a cooking technique that introduces extra layers of flavors to a dish by bringing in the little browned bits dry cooking methods leave in the bottom of the pan - those tasty little caramelized pieces that would otherwise get left behind. Deglazing is a great way to incorporate those pan flavors and to create a sauce, either a simple 'au jus' or a thicker or more sophisticated pan sauce or gravy.

The Definition of Deglazing

As appetizing as it is to talk about little brown bits, there's actually a word for the little 'deposits' of caramelized ingredients left at the bottom of the pan when you sautee, pan-fry or roast: fond. (Learn something new every day, right?) Deglazing is a cooking technique where a cooking liquid - frequently wine or another liquor, or stock - is added to that pan over heat to dissolve the fond into that liquid.

Why Deglaze?

The answer is simple: flavor! Browning through dry heat cooking develops intense and complex flavors. Some of the tasty browned food end up stuck to the bottom of the pan together with caramelized juices and rendered fat. Deglazing lets you use all that flavorful matter that would otherwise be left behind, mixing it with a tasty cooking liquid that can then be further developed by adding a thickener such as flour or butter or simply by reducing the sauce to concentrate the flavors. 

How to Deglaze?

Start with a pan you've used for roasting, sauteeing or pan-frying meat or vegetables. Drain off excess fat left in the pan if there's more than 1-2 tbsps. With the pan over medium-high heat, add 1-2 cups of a dry white or red wine, sherry or madeira, or low-sodium stock. Use a wooden spoon to gently scrape up the browned bits and dissolve them into the cooking liquid. This sauce can then be used as is (this would be an 'au jus') or you can use this as a starter sauce, and take it from there.

Deglazing is a technique we use frequently, including these recipes on Easy Food and Wine:

NY Strip Steak with Red Wine Sauce
Chicken with Green Olives and Caper Berries

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