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In The Family
What Is Deglazing?

The simple technique that brings big flavors to your food.

Recipes in older cookbooks and bloggy shorthand often talk about deglazing—“deglaze with wine or chicken stock”—so what does the term really mean? Deglazing begins with a dirty pan, specifically dirtied with stuck-on meat and vegetable bits from searing and sautéing. In French, these bits are called fond, or foundation, so named because they’re the deeply caramelized essence of seared flavor.

Deglazing is the process of dissolving these flavor bombs in liquid to bring their essence back into a dish, as a cooking liquid or sauce. While the dirty pan is still hot, add a few tablespoons of water, wine, stock, or vinegar, and as the liquid comes to a boil, scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen those stuck-on bits. The hot liquid makes a handy solvent and in a minute or two will be loaded with liquefied fond. An added bonus? The technique also makes the pan easier to clean when you’re finished cooking.

Also read: What Makes a Great Meat Marinade?

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.