Scenes from the cooking podcast, From Scratch. Brian Polcyn and I, in my West Village apartment, make a sauce, jus lié, using a wine reduction for an episode on wines and spirits. I also talk with another chef and a wine maker, and a very special guest.

The latest podcast episode is up! On wines and spirits, cooking with them and drinking them. In this episode, I make a simple wine reduction sauce with Brian, who is an amazing cook and a better teacher. We also talk with wine producer Dave Phinney and chef Peter Kelley, and follow this with, gadzooks, a vodka martini, with an expert who had never had one!

I promised early in the show to give a recipe for a jus lié, which is simply a thickened sauce. This one with a white wine reduction. Here it is, but casually, because it’s so easy, you can play fast and loose, if you use your common sense.

What you need is:

2 ounces bacon (optional), chopped, 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped carrot (Brian likes celery, I don’t for chicken but love with beef, and Brian added a smashed clove of garlic), some butter, tablespoon of tomato paste, 1-1/2 cups wine, 1-1/2 cups chicken stock (bay leaf and pepper if you have it), and a thickener, a corn starch slurry or beurre manié (described in podcast)–none of this in order so just have it on hand. And of course a sauteed chicken breast or a roast chicken to put the sauce on.

Cook the bacon so the fat renders. Cook the onion and carrot in the bacon fat. Brian added some butter to get everything rendering as you can hear. Throw in some garlic if you have it. When things are browned, add the tomato paste and cook that till it’s browned. Add the wine in thirds, reducing it till the pan is crackling and the sugars stuck to the pan are browning. After the wine add all the stock, reduce by half, strain it into a clean pan, bring to a simmer, adjust seasoning, then thicken with beurre manié, as we do on the podcast, or with a cornstarch slurry and you are: good to go.

It’s actually better to listen Brian describing it, or both. We’re trying to figure out in this podcast how to do audible recipes. Please let me know if it works or how we can do it better.

Again it sounds more complicated than it is: sweat the veg, add the wine in thirds reducing each time until the wine is gone, add the stock, reduce, strain, season, thicken. That’s it. When I roast a chicken I do this in the pan and don’t even need chicken stock, just water (as described in the new book).

Then, I actually make and more or less concede to the … Vodka martini. Yep. But only because I found a really good vodka. David and I discuss it. Though I must quote my friend Blake Bailey: “There is, of course, no such thing as a vodka martini (aka Kangaroo)….”

The Kangaroo (aka the “vodka martini”)

Despite what Brian says, cooking is easy, if you know the basics, and remember that unless it’s burnt, mistakes are edible.

And if you listen to and like the podcast, please give it some stars! BECAUSE: that’s the way more people learn about it and we want people to hear it!

Links from the show:

Peter Kelley of X2O

Slovenia Vodka

Dave Phinney, wine producer

David Lebovitz, and his books

While you’re waiting for his next book, Drinking French to come out, read his two memoirs, The Sweet Life In Paris and L’Appart.

Brian Polcyn

Recipe for the Kangaroo cocktail.

And my new book From Scratch: 10 Meals, 175 Recipes