Thicken Your Pan Sauce With Sour Cream

Thicken Your Pan Sauce With Sour Cream
Photo: Candice Bell, Shutterstock

I take a pretty minimal approach to pan sauces, especially on weeknights. I take the meat out of the pan, pour the excess fat into a little ramekin, and deglaze the delicious browned bits with something alcoholic. (Recently, that something has been semi-oxidised dry vermouth.) Then I whisk the fat back in, season the sauce if needed, and pour it all over my browned chop, steak, or cutlet.

But last night, as I was cooking yet another pork tenderloin, I decided I wanted something creamier and thicker to spoon over my meat and potatoes. Typically, I’ll make a beurre manie — aka a “raw roux” or fancy French butter-flour paste — but I didn’t feel like getting out two more ingredients.

One ingredient was all I wanted to deal with, and that ingredient was my BFF, sour cream. (You can also use a thick, full-fat yogurt, but the resulting sauce will taste a little different. Do not use low- or no-fat, unless you want your sauce to suck.)

Sour cream, as you probably know, is a cultured dairy product that comes with tons of fat and flavour. When combined with reduced wine and hot pan drippings, it melts into a creamy, slightly tangy, luscious pan sauce, without the need for flour, cornstarch, or any other powdery thickening agent.

Just make your pan sauce like you usually would — remove the meat, pour off excess fat, deglaze and reduce some wine, and whisk your fat back in — then take it off the heat and stir in a couple of tablespoons (or more) of sour cream. Give it a taste, season if needed, and spoon over everything that would benefit from a creamy, flavourful gravy.

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