The cornerstone of great and well-known sauces and gravies, this technique removes and dissolves bits of browned (sucs in French) food residue (most often meat) from a pan by adding liquids (acting like solvents) like liquor, stocks, verjuice, or wine that is used to flavor gravies, sauces, and soups. The resulting flavor is affected by the meat, liquid, and other flavoring ingredients (aromatics, butter, and/or herbs) used in the process.
The liquid resulting from the process is often seasoned and served (a jus). Whisking in butter and adding starches like flour and cornstarch serves to thicken the sauce. Dairy products, however, curdle in high heat environments and thus are not often used in deglazing. Also, applying steady heat and simmering results in a concentrated reduction with rich flavors.
Vegetables that leave sugars at the bottom of pans like (caramelized) onions lend themselves to deglazing. With vegetables producing little to no fat, it is not necessary to remove them from a pan to pour off excess grease. In this case, add the liquid directly to the pan, stirring it with the vegetables and allowing the flavors to combine rather than creating a separate sauce like in the case of meat.« Back to Glossary Index