Pan Sauces, like a boss (get ready for the longest post of your life!)

by Maren on January 20, 2013


I know. These are my You caught me and I know it eyes!

I’ve been a failed blogger this week. It’s SAUCE WEEK and I haven’t made anything since Tuesday. FAIL!

I made something delicious on Tuesday and didn’t ever blog about it. FAIL!!

I’m a featured blogger on the Top Chef University Blog and I didn’t blog about my escapade… DOUBLE FAIL!!!

I gotta tell ya… Late winter/early spring is a little crazy for me. I’m a basketball coach and it’s right in the middle of basketball season. Plus I have a really cute little puppy that needs 98% of my attention 122% of the time. Things get a little hectic around here and all I do some nights is crash in front of the TV with Dirty Little Secrets Pretty Little Liars re-runs playing on Netflix…Anyways, I made some delicious Asian Beef earlier this week and had no time to blog about it… sadness. Click the link for the recipe. It was DE-LISH!

3 Pan Sauces


Here’s what we’re makin’:

  1. red wine reduction with seared strip steak
  2. dijon-apple sauce with pork chops
  3. sea bass cod with buerre blanc

YES! And I made them all, in 1 night!


I’m just that good!

Okay, so I did a crap-ton of things I’d never done before this Saturday evening…

  • I cooked pork chops on the stove, not the oven
  • I seared fish… what?!
  • I made a reduction
  • I made sauce with wine… (detour)

LIFE MOTTO: IF YOU’RE COOKIN’ WITH WINE, YOU’RE DRINKIN’ SOME WINE (join the club, I know you want to!)


  • I cooked with fresh sage
  • mustard, apples and honey all go together surprisingly well… who knew??
  • I minced garlic, BY HAND!
  • I took the skin off an apple. I may, or may-not have felt like I violated the apple…

Holy cow! I’m exhausted just remembering.

I knew Saturday was going to be a big day… I wore my lucky cheetah headband.


Alright, crack open the wine… put on your luck headband… and let’s get cookin’!!!

Red Wine Reduction with Seared Strip Steak

Spike teaches this recipe. It takes 20 minutes and serves 2.



  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large NY strip steak
  • salt and pepper
  • evoo


heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper on each side. Drizzle evoo on heated sauté pan and lay steak in it. Coat top of steak with more evoo. Cook 4-5 minutes on first side. Flip and cook 2 minutes on the second side. Remove and plate to rest for 5ish minutes

In the pan add a little more evoo. Add the diced shallot and garlic. Saute for about a minute then add the mushrooms until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper then add red wine and beef stock to deglaze. Add thyme and summer over high heat until slightly reduced (2-3 minutes). Add cold butter and whisk to incorporate until it melts. Serve over steak.

BEEFY Photo Montage…


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I followed the recipe exactly for this entrée. It was perfect! No extra tips or anything.

Before and After

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Deglazing is a really simple thing. Spike taught me all about it. It just means that after cooking something like steak and you get all those crusty bits stuck to the pan in the oil… by adding a liquid and simmering it, you un-stick all that flavor-goodness (aka those crusty bits) from the pan and incorporate it into a sauce. Voila. DE-Glazing!!

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Dijon-Apple Sauce with Pork Chops

Spike teaches this recipe. It take about 20 minutes and makes 2 pork chops.



  • 2 thick cut pork chops
  • evoo
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage, leaves torn
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 medium granny smith apple peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter, cold
  • salt and pepper


Rub pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan over high heat and drizzle with evoo. Place seasoned chops in sauté pan and top with more evoo and some fresh thyme leaves. Sauté chops for 6 minutes per side.

Remove the chops and set aside. Add onion, garlic and sage leaves to the pan. Sauté for a minute then add mustard, honey and apples. Sauté until simmering and the apples begin to wilt. Add apple juice and simmer the sauce until slightly reduced.

Add cold butter to the pan and swirl until it dissolves. The sauce will thicken. Taste and season if needed. Serve over the pork chops.

PORKY Photo Montage…


I’m sort-of a wiz at dicing onion.

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Someone thought these photos where quite funny.

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You’re Welcome, I know I just made your day!



Sea Bass Cod with Buerre Blanc

Spike, again, teaches this recipe. It takes 15 minutes and serves 3



  • 3 cod fillets, thawed
  • salt and pepper
  • evoo
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 8 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 3-4 TBSP chopped chives


Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add a little evoo to the pan. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Sear the fish on the hot pan for 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip and season for 1-2 minutes on the second side. Remove and set aside.

In the pan, remove the fat leaving about 2 TBSP liquid. Add a little evoo if you have less liquid remaining. Add shallots. Saute then deglaze with white wine. Simmer for a few minutes until reduced slightly. Add the butter and swirl around the pan until completely melted. You can simmer the sauce until it reduces more, if you desire. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Once the sauce is done, fold in the chives and top the fish.

FISHY Photo Montage


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The fish entrée was by far my favorite. I loved the flavors the best. Pan sauces are really really awesome. The concept is, using the drippings from cooking your meat to make a flavorful sauce quickly and easily to serve over your meat. I love it! It’s a quick and easy way to dress up something you already made. It’s totally up my alley.


I also really liked that I learned how to cook pork chops on the stove and how to sear fish. I always over cook fish.


I hope you guys enjoyed!!! Guess what’s coming tomorrow…

A sauce week recap and Chicken Mole!!!


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandi January 20, 2013 at 8:17 am

Everything looks great Maren! :)


Kelli January 20, 2013 at 8:28 am

Nice mis en place!! Beautiful photos! Props on making three entrees in one afternoon!


Danielle @ clean food creative fitness January 20, 2013 at 9:39 am

Love all the recipes! Everything looks amazing. I’m so impressed with all these meals you’ve been blogging lately. Happy Sunday!


Alex @ therunwithin January 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

holy crap, you are cooking up a storm. i need this kind of inspiration


Miranda @ Biting Life January 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Wow, you’re right, this was a really long post, haha! But worth it :) I’ve always been interested in how to make sauces… especially the famed red wine reduction! Also, the pictures you take of yourself while cooking are always hilarious and I love them.


Katie S. January 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Hi Maren!

I just found your blog on and can’t wait to read more! I’m a runner who just moved to Salinas from LA and am still trying to find good spots to eat, hang out, and work out. I was excited to learn that there are local races in Salinas. Thanks for all the info!


Nikki January 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Oh em and Donner are too cute! All of these pictures are awesome, and everything sounds terrific. I want to come to your house for dinner.


Maureen January 22, 2013 at 8:10 am

Yum! I love the combo of apples, mustard & honey. :)


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