Port Wine Sauce

One evening at The Ambassador Hotel in Chicago, craving some red meat, I ordered their filet mignon. It came very simply presented, sitting in a rich Port wine reduction. Delicious, and one of those things I just had to try to recreate. The color alone is worth the time and effort spent making the sauce. Pour it over, or set your filet in an artfully placed puddle. You’ll think twice about going to a steak house or using off-the-shelf steak sauce again. And, once you get the ingredients down, and maybe adjusted to your taste, you’re set to make as much or as little as you like.


1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp minced garlic (optional – I don’t use it)
1 tsp salt
4-5 turns freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp sugar
1 cup Port wine
3 cups dark stock


Heat skillet over high heat. Add the oil, and once shimmering, add the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute.
Stir in the sugar and Port, and bring it to a boil.
Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the stock and cook over high heat until it is reduced, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat.


The sauce can be used immediately, or covered and refrigerated for up to three days. Reheat before serving.

I’ve had great success using cubed stock, whether beef, chicken, or vegetable. For this recipe I recommend beef; however, I’ve also used a mushroom stock, which you can make from dried mushrooms. The cubes take up so little space, and are usually reconstituted 1 cube to a cup of boiling water. Efficient, and less wasteful.

Though the basic recipe calls for straining before serving, that’s true for the sauce, itself. However, I save the diced shallot pieces and use them as an additional topping, or can be on the side. They make a delicious relish.

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