This Week’s Spontaneous Sauce – Cider and Sage Pan Sauce

I’ve always loved cider. Squat brown bottles of Canadian cider were always tucked in among the beer during our summer vacations. I drank more pints in London pubs than I probably should have. Over the years I turned my back on cider and my eyes wandered to our sexy local craft beers, but I’m thrilled that good, local ciders are back and demanding attention. They are far too good to forsake.

I20150930_151014’m searing a lot these days – testing out temperatures and surfaces, but I’m not yet ready to lock in recipes until I can explain what is going on in the pans. That means I’ve got good pan residue that I can spontaneously deglaze with whatever is handy. Cider has been handy, apples are handy and I have a giant shrub of purple sage that is always calling out for attention. No doubt this recipe will be tested and improved over the next few weeks, but this was a great starting point.


Cider and Sage Pan Sauce

Yield: about ½ cup

pan residue  and about 1 tablespoon fat left from searing chicken or pork.

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 cup peeled and sliced or chopped firm apple

1/2 cup dry cider

2/3 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1-2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter or a dollop of crème fraiche (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Add the shallot to the pan and sauté over medium heat until softened and aromatic, about 1 minute. Make sure the residue doesn’t burn. Stir in the apple. Deglaze the pan with the cider and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat. Reduce until the liquid has become slightly syrupy, about 4 minutes. Stir in the sage.

If you want to enrich the sauce, gradually stir in the cold butter or whisk in the crème fraiche. (Sour cream will shatter at this point. If that’s all you have, gradually temper it with the warm sauce, re-introduce it into the pan and do not boil again.)

Season with salt and pepper and pour over the seared chicken or pork.

NOTE:  Unlike the recipes published in Mastering Sauces, My Spontaneous Sauce Recipes are quickly jotted down and not meticulously tested. Please make adjustments as you see fit.