I have found that by the time all the alcohol has evaporated, my fond turns from beautiful brown to charcoal black.

Why does it happen?

  • 3
    There is no such time as "all alcohol has evaporated" - so maybe you can describe better how long you are holding it in the pan, or what end result you want beside a nice color? – rumtscho Feb 22 '17 at 9:20
  • If alcohol is something you wish to avoid, you can deglaze a pan with broth or any liquid, even water. – Jolenealaska Feb 22 '17 at 11:15
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    Technically, I guess by the point that the pan contents are baked dry, the alcohol's gone :) – rackandboneman Feb 22 '17 at 12:28
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    ...I was joking, BUT could it be the actual case here, the only liquid still there in a significant amount being oil/fat (which will allow everything to heat up to scorching temperature quickly)? – rackandboneman Feb 22 '17 at 12:30
  • The chemistry of this is that alcohol(ethanol) and water form an azeotrope which is 95% alcohol and 5% water which will boil off before the rest of the water. – MaxW Feb 23 '17 at 0:16

Prior to adding wine (or any liquid), you have browned meat and/or vegetables. Ideally, you are looking for a dark browning. Once you've removed those items from the pan, you add wine or other liquid. It should begin to boil. Immediately begin scraping up the fond (the brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan). They should scrape up with a little force. It is best to use a straight edged wooden spoon. Once the fond is scraped up and incorporated into the liquid, there should be little chance of burning, unless you evaporate all of the liquid. You can also turn the heat down a bit for more control. Why does it happen? Maybe your heat is too high. Maybe you are not scraping all of the fond off the pan. Maybe you are not using enough liquid. I would bet there is some fond left on the pan, which has not been fully incorporated.

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