MAKING DAIRY-FREE SAUCES GREAT: AN ODE TO THE SLURRY
Oh, pan sauce. A staple of the culinary world; it is the jam to the peanut butter of steaks and filets. And it’s got a lot of butter in it. A lot. But geez, it’s delicious. Typically, after sauteeing a steak (or chicken breast), there is something called a fond at the bottom of your pan. That’s all the yummy cooked fat and juices. You add aromats—say, shallots or garlic. Then, you deglaze the pan with alcohol of some sort, usually wine. That cooks for second, stock is added and so is butter. The whole thing is brought to a rapid boil to reduce the mixture to a thick, pour-it-all-over-my-steak, dip-gluten-free-baguette-in-it texture that’s really just…awesome. But for that stick-to-the spoon sauce, it seems like milktards are fresh out of luck.
Well, nothing is ever quite as it seems though, right?
As a subscriber of the dairy-free diet, sauces tend to be on the thin side. Sure, there’s unsweetened coconut milk, but that’s not always the most appropriate flavor to incorporate. So…
Meet the slurry. A slurry is a life saver, easy to make and a great option for those of us with limits in our dairy intake. A simple little trick that will improve the quality of all of your sauces, giving them a full-bodied texture that brings out the flavors in everything you coat it in.
How do you make it? Simple:
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder + 2 tablespoons warm water, mixed well.
That’s it. Seriously, that’s it. Pour in a little at a time to a thin sauce, stirring constantly to incorporate. I usually pause between pours to gauge how much more slurry the mixture needs. After I find the sauce to my satisfaction, onto the food it goes.
Bam. Dairy-free pan sauce, perfected. It’s not just for meat though, add it pasta sauce or vegan caramel to get that sticky structure you so desire.
P.S. I know you want to know what I’m eating. It’s super awesome, by the way. Pan-seared, grass-fed rib steak with dairy-free bordelaise sauce, lemon-scented quinoa and roasted artichokes. I got the idea for the artichokes from fellow Brooklynite Nicole Franzen’s gorgeous food photography blog (that I’m totally obsessed with, by the way) La Buena Vida.
P.P.S. The whole meal was totally dork-friendly: no nuts, no seafood, no eggs or dairy and no gluten!