serves 4
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb (500 g) shallots, peeled (see note)
21⁄2 cups (20 fl oz/625 ml) dry red wine
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) vegetable
or chicken broth
1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a frying pan, melt 11⁄2 Tbsp of the butter
over low heat. Add the shallots and sauté
until slightly softened and evenly coated
with the butter, 6–8 minutes.
Add 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) of the wine, the
broth, vinegar, sugar, and tarragon (if using),
raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and simmer
uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the
shallots are cooked through and almost
translucent, 10–15 minutes. The liquid should
be thick and syrupy. If it cooks down too
much and becomes too dark, it will be bitter,
so adjust the heat if it seems to be reducing
too quickly. Add the remaining 1⁄2 cup
(4 fl oz/125 ml) wine and continue to simmer
for a few minutes longer until reduced to a
concentrated sauce; there should be 1⁄2–3⁄4 cup
(4–6 fl oz/125–180 ml) liquid.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the
remaining 11⁄2 Tbsp butter, stirring briskly
to incorporate the butter and give the sauce
a nice gloss. Season with salt and pepper
and serve.

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