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Pan Sauce with Steak


5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 beef steaks, such as top loin, ribeye, or tenderloin, cut about 3/4-inch thick)
1/3 cup dry red wine or apple juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or 1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon whipping cream (no substitutes)
White pepper


Heat a large skillet (if possible do not use nonstick skillet) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter; reduce heat to medium. Cook steaks about 3 minutes per side or until medium rare (steaks will continue to cook as they stand). Transfer to a serving platter; cover tightly with foil to keep warm. Drain fat from skillet.

Add the wine, broth, and shallots to the hot skillet. Using a wire whisk stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove browned bits. Continue to cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced to approximately 2 tablespoons (3 to 4 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low.

Stir in cream, then remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until butter is melted and sauce has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and white pepper; serve immediately. Makes 2 servings (about 1/4 cup sauce).

From the Test Kitchen


Stir 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme, tarragon or oregano with the shallots.
Stir 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard in with the shallots.
Stir 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar into the finished sauce.
Stir 1/2 teaspoon capers into the finished sauce.


Use dry white wine and reduced sodium chicken broth in place of the red wine and beef broth; or use apple juice in place of the wine.