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I am making a lamb-based pinot noir sauce a day ahead of time. The sauce is finished with butter.

Should I finish it when I take it off the stove? or when I reheat it the next day?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Sometimes finishing is referred to as enriching, and from what I've seen, the finishing ingredient tends to be something that breaks down or otherwise changes in cooking, like walnut oil or cognac. The purpose is to keep the flavour of the ingredient without cooking it; finish it when you reheat it.

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The particular issue with finishing the sauce with butter is that if it is done too early and reheated the emulsion of the butter lipids in water may break and you are left with a separate oil layer on top of the sauce. Finish when reheated just prior to serving. – RudyB Nov 15 '12 at 19:31

I don't think either way is bad, but I'd finish it when you reheat it as it will be ... fresher for lack of a better word.

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