Rich Pan Sauce with Chicken

2010 Nov/Dec

A good pan sauce can be made with any meat – try this recipe with beef, pork, lamb, or game. You can also experiment: change the spices, leave out the onion, add heat to the sauce with chipotle chiles. Mix things up a bit to make your “signature” sauce.


  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 t. butter
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 pinch dry sage
  • 1 pinch dry thyme
  • 2 T. sweet paprika
  • 1 c. wine
  • 2 c. chicken stock


Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high until hot. Add the butter and oil. Sear the chicken breasts on each side to a rich brown, which will leave bits stuck to the bottom of the pan – the darker brown these bits get, the richer the sauce will be.

When the meat is nicely browned, remove it from the pan and finish cooking it in the oven, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.

Add the onion to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and stir the onion with a wooden spatula from time to time, allowing it to take on a golden brown colour. Sprinkle in the flour, stir it in thoroughly, then add the sage, thyme and paprika, and sauté 2 minutes longer, stirring. Slowly add the wine and stock, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula to coax the delicious, and essential, brown bits off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce. Once the sauce has reached a boil, allow it to reduce to about 1/3 of its original volume. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat to simmer, and allow the sauce to simmer until the chicken is ready to serve. Serves 4.

Tip: when you’re experimenting with your own herb and spice mixtures, start by adding a little at a time – taste and adjust throughout the cooking process.That way, you’ll achieve seasoning success from the get-go. Never add all the salt at the beginning. Leave some to adjust at the end.