What is deglazing?

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Deglazing is a technique used to free those tasty brown bits (called fond by the French) from the bottom of a pan where you’ve been cooking something using a “dry” cooking method.  Toasted, caramelized, and delicious, fond is an essential foundation for many classic pan sauces, soups, and stews, and should never be wasted (although if something’s gone wrong and those little brown bits have become little black bits, it’s best to leave them be and switch pans, lest they make your dish bitter).

When to deglaze:
Deglazing should be done at the end of any sauteeing, sweating, or searing you do, just as you’re transitioning into a wet cooking method phase (stewing, braising, simmering or boiling).  So after you’ve finished searing your stew meat or osso bucco, and have browned any vegetables you’re going to brown, it’s time to deglaze!

How to deglaze:
To deglaze a pan, simply make sure it’s good and hot, then pour in a liquid (commonly water, wine, stock or broth).  The pan should be hot enough that you hear a woosh sound and some of the liquid evaporates, but not so hot that the alcohol (if you’re using it) ignites.

Once all the liquid has hit the pan, use a whisk, spatula or (in a pinch) spoon to gently scrape (really more of a massage) the fond off the bottom of the pan and dissolve it into your cooking liquid.  If you’re using an enamel or dutch oven, we recommend using a wooden utensil to prevent scratching it.

That’s it, deglazing really is quite simple, but can add a lot of otherwise wasted flavor to soups, stews, braised dishes, sauces, and even homemade risotto.

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