See, a pan sauce is easy if you already have a fond (that nice, dark coloring on the bottom, inside of your pan - and, no, I don't mean the burned stuff!). But without one (a problem a lot of vegetarians have) what are you to do?
I know the answer. Because I was the student whose pan went missing. And if this sauce doesn't get your kids and husband to eat their vegetables, I don't know what will!
Vegetarian recipe for the world's best scratch sauce
After someone lifted our pan, we had to make a sauce from scratch. Here's what I did so if you are ever in the same boat, you can whip together a sauce from nothing, too.
First, I minced half an onion. Then I sweated it in a saute pan with butter. Now, the point here was to get the onion translucent, not brown (I was not caramelizing) so I kept the heat on the low side; sweating takes time.
Once the onion was translucent, I added a roux (fat + flour mixture) as a thickening agent. Next, I poured in some vegetable stock. Then fresh, minced thyme (well, in reality, we used dried, but we would have used fresh if there was any to be had, so that is what I recommend). Splash of cream, squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.
And there you have it: A super fast sauce. Which everyone in the class said they loved.
What to do with my sauce?
Why pour it on anything that does not move fast enough. Sauteed asparagus. Broiled tomatoes. Steamed broccoli, baked potato, and so on.