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Am getting sick of adding the wine, then waiting for it to reduce, then adding the broth and waiting for it to reduce, and then adding the butter and waiting for it to do its job thickening...

Actually instead of wine I'm using vermouth because it lasts longer in the fridge. And I'm using a whole milk/corn starch slurry instead of butter because it's lower in fat. But above is the general idea.

So, noticing a bottle of barbecue sauce in my fridge and how easy that is to use, I'm now looking for guidelines on how long I can keep pan sauces I make this way, any tips on how to prepare them so they last longer in the fridge?

Barbecue sauce has vinegar in it, that because of it's acidity, is supposed to make that sauce last longer. But my pan sauces have wine in them that should help longevity?

I know Wikipedia is no expert on cooking, but I noticed on the demi-glace page they claim that stuff lasts 6 months in the fridge or almost indefinitely frozen. It can't possibly last that long, can it?

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Set a timer and find a good book to read –  TFD Oct 4 '12 at 22:39
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1 Answer

First thing to try is freezing, possibly in ice cube trays (once frozen, transfer to freezer bag). Freezing has the advantage that you can be confident the food is still safe to consume.

Unfortunately, cornstarch-thickened sauces often don't hold up to freezing. A couple of approaches:

  • Thicken only after thawing. Takes more time reheating, but not much.
  • Try arrowroot or tapioca starch. You'll get a different look and slightly different texture than you're used to.
  • Use "modernist" ingredients for thickening, such as guar gum and/or xanthan gum. The texture is probably going to be different than what you're used to.

Your BBQ sauce is not only low-pH it is also high-sugar. Both reduce microbial growth. It'd be difficult to know how long your pan sauce would last in the fridge without measuring those, and possibly doing lab work.

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Wow, great answer derobert! Thanks. Only question I got. If I freeze in ice cubes, can I just pop a cube or two in the pan after I saute the chicken or pork chop? And defrost that way, while the meat is rest? –  Levander Oct 8 '12 at 9:56
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@Levander yep, that's the reason for using ice cubes, so you can defrost it a little at a time. You may have to let the pan cool some before putting in the ice cubes (or add some liquid first, as you'd be further reducing it), or of course just defrost in the microwave. –  derobert Oct 8 '12 at 14:20
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Had to think about it a little, but I guess the reason you're talking about lowering the pan heat is because as the ice melts, the water that's melting off would hit the hot pan an evaporate pretty quickly... Damn you are good at this. I'll play with heats and various more freezer friendly approaches towards thickening. Thanks for all the ideas! –  Levander Oct 9 '12 at 12:03
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