This easy-to-make sauce, also called a reduction or pan sauce, is based on the drippings and natural juices left in the pan after meat, poultry or fish has been sautéed or roasted. To make a pan sauce, all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat are removed from the roasting pan or skillet. A liquid such as stock, wine, water, fruit juices or a combination is added to the remaining fat and drippings and boiled over high heat until reduced by half or more (the amount is generally specified in the recipe) concentrating the flavors and thickening the gravy. Wine or another alcoholic liquid may be added first and almost completely boiled away, before stock, water or other non-alcoholic liquids are added and reduced. While the liquid is boiling, the mixture is stirred to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. If a thicker gravy is desired, flour may be added to the fat before the liquid is added and reduced, or cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with water may be added at the very end of the cooking time. The garvy may also be finished with butter, cream, herbs and seasonings. It is important that salt be added to any sauce based on reduction only after the liquid has been sufficiently reduced and tasted, since the evaporation of the liquid increases the proportion of salt to liquid in the mixture.

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