How to Make a Basic Cream Sauce
1. Saute about a quarter cup of diced onions or minced shallots in a little butter or olive oil over medium heat, just until they’re soft. You can also add minced garlic or dried herbs or spices to flavor your sauce.
2. Deglaze the pan with a splash — about 1/2 cup — of white wine. Once all but a tablespoon or so of the wine remains in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the cream. It’s important not to let the sauce boil once the cream’s been added. High heat and acid from the wine can cause the cream to separate, creating an oily ring around your sauce.
3. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Make your cream sauce in the same pan you’ve cooked your protein or veggies in for added flavor.
Dice your onions or shallots finely so they release the most flavor and don’t alter your sauce’s consistency.
You can deglaze with wine, stock or broth, or another alcohol (port and sherry make delicious sauces, too.)
Thin your sauce, if necessary, with a splash of stock.
Add additional flavor by whisking in herbs, spices, mustard or other flavor boosters before adding the cream.
Get the consistency right. Run a clean finger along the back of the wooden spoon you use to stir your sauce. Your fingerprint should remain. If it fills in too quickly your sauce is too thin.
Can you use half and half instead of cream? Yes, that’ll save you some calories, but remember it’s called CREAM sauce.
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Sweating Shallots or Onions