How to deglaze a pan … kitchen helper
Watch any cooking show on TV and you’re bound to hear the phrase “deglazing the pan”; but what exactly is deglazing and why should you do it? Read on for all you need to know plus tips on how to deglaze.
When you cook meat, fish or vegetables in a pan you will often find that there’s little browned bits of food that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Well that brown stuff is in fact the basis for an amazing sauce and the way to create it is to deglaze the pan. And not only will you end up with a tasty sauce when you deglaze a pan, you’ll also make cleaning up the pan a whole lot easier.
Deglazing involves using liquid to release those flavourful, caramelised bits of food that are stuck to the pan. To deglaze you first remove the food that you cooked in the pan and pour off any liquid that is in the pan. If there are any obviously burned bits discard them as they will make the sauce taste bitter. Return the pan to the heat and use liquid such as stock, vinegar, wine, beer or juice to build on the concentrated flavour that is in the caramelised bits. Pour in enough liquid to just cover the bottom of the pan by about centimetre. As the liquid heats, use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the pan and loosen those little flavour bombs. If you’re using alcohol to deglaze, it is a sensible idea to remove the pan from the heat while pouring in the alcohol, otherwise it may flare up and produce flames. Another important tip; don’t use a metal spoon or spatula if you have a non-stick pan as this will damage the surface. Continue scraping until the bottom of the pan is clean and all the particles are floating in the liquid.
Next, turn that liquid into a sauce or gravy to accompany your meal. Do this by boiling the liquid until it has reduced by half, then remove it from the heat and whisk in butter or cream and you will have a super tasty sauce ready to eat.
If you don’t want to make a sauce you can still deglaze the pan to make cleaning up simple and easy. Rather than a flavoured liquid like alcohol or stock, you simply follow the same method outline above but just use water. All the caramelised bits of food will come away from the pan meaning there’s no need to scrub to get the pan clean.