Did you know that you can use the burnt looking brown bits that are stuck in the bottom of the pan after you cook meat or vegetables?
What is Fond?
In the world of cooking, there is a name for everything. The crusts or the brown bits that are stuck at the bottom of your pan from browning meat or vegetables are called fond.
How Can I Use Fond?
One of the most important things that you can learn, if you’re teaching yourself how to cook, is how to use fond. When you roast or pan-fry meat, a deposit of browned sugar, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats form at the bottom of the pan. The French culinary term for these food bits is “suc” which means juice. In America, people call it fond. Fond also means foundation in French as fond is the foundation of deglazing and pan sauce. You can use fond to make great tasting pan sauces.
How Can I Make Fond?
Now you know that you don’t make fond, but you get fond when you roast or brown meat and vegetables. If you would like to have better fond and maximize it, then you can do a couple of things. When you roast a chicken or large piece of meat, you can maximize the fond by adding some onions, carrots, and celery. Roast the meat with the vegetables, and as the meat cooks, it will release the juices, and the caramelized vegetables will add aroma and depth to it.
One of the key things to remember about fond is that it should be brown. If the fond looks black, then it is probably burnt. A nice brown color fond is the sign of great flavor and makes the best pan sauce. Burnt fond does not deglaze properly and dissolve. If you use burnt fond to make pan sauce, then it will add a smoky flavor to it and you might need to get rid of the burnt bits as they do not dissolve well.
It is also important that you do not crowd your pan with too many vegetables and meat when you are browning them. Give your meat and vegetables enough room to develop a healthy crust. Overcrowded pans will create too much moisture and steam, and you won’t get the perfect fond.
How Can I Deglaze a Pan?
Fond had been used in classical cooking for its concentrated flavor to create great-tasting pan sauces for many years. To make a pan sauce from fond, you will need to deglaze the pan first. The process of removing fond from the bottom of the pan is called deglazing. To deglaze the pan, first, remove the meat and pour most of the fat off. Your pan should be left with only the dried and browned meat residue and juice. Then turn the heat on and add some liquid to dissolve the fond. Depending on your personal choice, you can use vegetable or meat stock, wine, or verjuice as a solvent. With the solvent, it will be easy to scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan. Always use a wooden spoon for scraping. Keep scaping till the fond is fully dissolved and will easily turn into a basic sauce.
The meat determines the flavor, and also, the liquid used to deglaze the pan and any flavoring or finishing ingredients added such as herbs or butter, etc. You can use just about anything that you can think of to add extra flavor.
Not just with the meat, you can also deglaze the pan after cooking vegetables, especially the ones that left sugar at the bottom of the pan. It is commonly used after making caramelized onions. Greens do not produce fat like meat, so they do not need to be removed from the pan to get rid of the excess fat. You can pour the liquid that you are using as a solvent directly and stir to allow the fond to meld with the vegetable without creating a separate sauce.
How do you Incorporate Fond into a Pan Sauce?
To make a pan sauce from fond, you will need to deglaze the pan first. You can use any meat to brown them. When you cook the meat, you want a nice deep, rich brown color on them. That means you’ve got the good stuff from the meat left in the pan, and that is your fond. We will be using this fond to build a sauce. Now you will need to get the fond off the bottom of the pan and into your food. Heat the pan with fond and add a little bit of wine, but you can do it with any liquid of your choice. Wine is an excellent acidic ingredient, but you can also use vinegar. Then throw in a little bit of garlic, a little bit of shallot, and a little bit of chicken broth. You don’t need much. At this stage, heat them for three or four minutes and let it come to a very nice heavy rolling boil. Once the volume is reduced to half, add a little bit of butter. As soon as that melts-down, add a little bit of fresh parsley. That’s it. You got yourself the perfect pan sauce!
Best pans for Fond
Some pans are more conducive to make fonds than others. Enamel-coated cast iron, in particular, gives excellent fond. Make sure that you are scraping with a wooden spoon or a soft ended utensil, especially if you are using non-stick pans. I am sure that you don’t want bits of Teflon in your pan sauce.
Pan sauce recipes
Pan sauce is very easy to make. Making a pan sauce is more like you are getting something for no extra effort.
Here are some pan sauce recipes that we recommend you trying at home.