White Wine Pan Sauce
From Cook's Illustrated:
A white wine pan sauce is a quick and easy way to make normal seared chicken breasts or pork tenderloin something special. One key is to incorporate the cooked-on juices and browned bits (called fond) left in the pan after searing; this will give the sauce a deep savory flavor. It’s also important to reduce the wine separately from the broth. This allows more alcohol to burn off from the wine, concentrating the wine’s flavor compounds and making the sauce taste richer and more complex.
1 large shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat from pan used to cook meat. Add shallot and garlic to pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer rapidly, scraping up any browned bits, until liquid is reduced to glaze, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in any accumulated meat juices. Off heat, whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted and sauce is thickened and glossy. Stir in thyme and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon over meat, and serve.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG: As with red wine pan sauce, a white wine pan sauce, too, can taste boozy and flat.
HOW WE FIXED IT: For a more complex taste, we follow our method in Red Wine Pan Sauce (see related content) and reduce the wine before adding the broth. As for wine choice, Sauvignon Blanc is your best bet. In tests, we found that it boils down to a “clean” yet sufficiently acidic flavor that plays nicely with the other ingredients. Dry vermouth is a close second—and it has the advantage of a long shelf life. Chardonnay is too oaky, and Pinot Grigio is so mild that its flavor quickly fades into the background.
NOTE: Expensive wine is never necessary for cooking purposes, but the wine you cook with should be good enough to drink on its own.