Quod Erat Demonstrandum: Deglazing

Unprofessional Cookery

Lets take a quick vote here.  Raise your hand for whatever choice you agree with.

How many of you are thinking that I copped out because I chose to write about a topic under the letter D that I will probably never eat?  Excellent. Is that your hand up or not?  We’ll just count it as not.  Great.

And how many of you don’t really care, but want to know about deglazing regardless?  Nice, nice.  No, wait, you voted twice.

Okay!  The winner has it.  So I’m going to cover deglazing anyways, considering that I can’t see any of your hands. I also chose this topic as deglazing a pan is a kitchen skill that everyone should have in their culinary repertoire, vegetarian or not.


If you hear “deglaze a pan” what it really means is “getting the crap off the bottom of that pan in the most flavorful way possible”.  When cooking meat in a saute pan over high heat, oftentimes small bits and carmelized juices will stick to the bottom of it.  This detritus in the pan is called the sucs, which is derived from the Latin word succus.  Succus literally means sap and its the base for some highly flavored quick pan sauces.  (This doesn’t happens much with vegetables.)

Those sucs will be deglazed when they are returned to a high heat and a cold liquid is added to the pan.  Most of the time pans are deglazed with stock, wine or beer although anything can really be used (including water).  The liquid, along with a few quick scrapes of the pan, loosens up the sucs and the whole mess now is known as a fond, or the foundation for multiple other sauces.

And that’s about it.  Getting crap off the bottom of a saute pan is really all that deglazing is.  It’s a good base for creating other sauces like gravy or jus and can also be the base for some soups.

So even though I probably won’t have much use for it myself, having this nugget of knowledge is good to have for all the meat eaters in my life.  It also saves me quite a bit of effort in the cleaning department.