Question: Why Does This Sauce Break

April 15, 2010
When I make this recipe, the sauce breaks a bit. Still VERY tasty, but why does it break 1 lb chicken breasts, boneless and skinless 1 tsp lemon pepper 1 Tbsp butter ¼ cup onion, chopped fine 1 cup half and half 2 Tbsp cider vinegar (or lemon juice) 1 tsp dried tarragon (or 2 Tbsp fresh, chopped) Pound the chicken until about ¼” thick. Cut each breasts into 2-4 nice sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté in butter until browned and no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet sauté the onions until tender. Add the half and half, cider, and tarragon. Bring to a boil and cook for 5-6 minutes until it thickens stirring constantly.


Chris Paulk's picture

In a sauce like hollandaise, adding the butter too quickly can cause the sauce to break. In a cream sauce, setting on the heat too long can cause it to break. Try adding a little more cream if you notice it starting to come apart.
You can try adding a little cornstarch w/ water to help hold it together.

Curt's picture

Cut the vinegar by 1/2 to 1 Tbsp and DO NOT bring the half-n-half to a boil. Heat it more gently until it begins to simmer and keep it at a simmer until it is as thick as you would like it. FYI - half-n-half doesn't thicken like cream might want to use cream for a richer, thicker sauce. Never boil any sauce regardless of what the directions say. Water is the only thing you should ever boil.

Rich Grant's picture

Thanks much

Paula Lehman's picture

You also might consider making a pan roux if nothing else works. All the rest of the advice no this page is accurate. Just sprinkle a little flour on your butter in the pan and cook to remove raw flour flavor. Then add your liquid slowly, whisking to prevent lumps. That would thicken it up as would corn starch, as previously mentioned.