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Cooking For Kitchenphobes: White Wine Sauce

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Cooking For Kitchenphobes is a series aimed to put "cooking haters" more at ease in the kitchen. We'll walk you through one basic recipe a week until you love cooking. Or else.

We're fully aware that one of the most stressful elements of cooking is deciding what to serve for dinner, especially if you want to impress someone. We're here with a very simple solution to that problem: Sauce. A fancy (but simple) French white wine sauce, to be exact.

In classical French cooking, sauce is the thing. Well-prepared, delicately crafted sauces are a crucial part of French cooking and a primary reason for the renown of French cuisine. Sauce makes everything delicious. Once you learn how to make this simple but incredibly flavorful white wine sauce, you're going to pour it on everything. Chicken, fish, pasta, vegetables, eggs, burgers … everything. You'll be dipping grilled cheese into it, it's that good.

All that's left is for you to roll up your sleeves and learn how to make it. It's just the recipe to have in your arsenal when you're panicking about how to resurrect your boring chicken. SAUCE IT. You can do this, let's go.

[Note: Italics below indicate when we're holding your hand through the process]

White Wine Sauce
- 1 shallot, finely chopped [A shallot is NOT an onion, but more like its sweet, pungent cousin. You'll find shallots near the onions in the produce aisle.]
- 1/2 bay leaf [You'll find these in the spice aisle. Honestly, you can skip this part if you really, really want to.]
- 1/2 cup white wine [Any kind you want!]
- 2 cups stock [This can be chicken stock, fish stock or vegetable stock. Use what you have and what you like!]
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 lemon

1. Place the shallot, bay leaf, and wine in a small sauce pan [one of these]. Turn the heat up to high and let the mixture bubble away until it's the consistency of thin maple syrup. This is called "reducing." [This will take around 5-10 minutes, so be patient but keep an eye on the pot.]

2. Next, pour the stock into the pot and, keeping the heat on high, reduce it until there's half as much liquid as you started with.

3. Add the cream and cook down until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. [Brilliant tip: Dip a big spoon in the pot, coat the back, and draw a line down the middle of the spoon with your finger. If the line still remains after 3 seconds, it's ready. If the line fills back in before 3 seconds, you need to keep cooking until it's thicker.]

4. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper and, if necessary, add a few drops of lemon juice if it tastes bland. [This is the fun part. Taste to your heart's content. Just don't burn your tongue. Seriously, it's hot.]

5. If you don't mind a chunky sauce, serve as is. If you want a smooth, velvety sauce, pass the sauce through a strainer and then serve.

Hey look, you just made a classical French sauce! And we bet it's delicious. Check back with us next time to learn how to become an even better cook.

Previously on Cooking For Kitchenphobes
Chicken Stock
Tomato Soup
Vinaigrette
Poached Eggs

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