PAN SAUCES ROCK!!!
All good advice above. :D Although I'm not a fan of using slurries to thicken pan sauces -- I prefer just boiling down ("reducing") the liquid. That thickens it AND intensifies the flavor. It's quick, too, since there's a lot of surface area. But if you want to, it's okay to thicken your sauces with a flour-and-water or cornstarch-and-water slurry or beurre manié (butter and flour mixed together and added in small amounts to the sauce) -- just remember that you then have to cook the sauce more to get rid of the raw flour/cornstarch taste.
What Diane and foodpump have described is referred to as "deglazing the pan" -- when you loosen the flavorful fond (see the quote in my sig line :lol: ) and dissolve it in liquid. That's the simplest kind of pan sauce. Two things to remember about doing that:
- If the stuff in the pan is BURNT, you can't do this, as it will make for a bitter sauce :( , and
- You'll want to spoon out or pour out any extra fat in the pan before you start, or else your sauce will be too greasy.
If you want to start getting fancy, before you add the liquid, add a little minced onion and/or garlic and/or shallot to the pan and sauté it until soft and just a little golden. Then add the liquid(s) -- wine first if you're using it, and cook until it has almost completely evaporated ("au sec"), then stock or juice -- scraping and stirring to dissolve the fond. Boil that down until it's a consistency you like, season with salt and pepper, add chopped fresh herbs, and serve.
To get REALLY fancy, after you season it, strain out the solids, return the sauce to the pan or to a clean saucepan or sauté pan, and swirl in bits of butter, a little at a time, to thicken the sauce and give it a lovely shine. :lips: