Multi-purpose lemon cream sauce recipe. Suitable for fish, chicken, vegetables, pasta and even red meats.
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About Lemon Cream Sauce
This delicious sauce is a cream based reduction flavored with the bright, tart notes of fresh lemon juice. Our recipe is chef and home cook tried and true. It is easy to execute, the sauce is stable and has multiple uses.
The secret to a velvety and rich creamy lemon sauce is to simmer heavy-cream with a couple of aromatic flavoring agents until it is infused with lemony and savory goodness.
Heavy cream is the perfect medium for the job because:
- it is incredibly receptive to other flavors and embraces them with enthusiasm.
- unlike butter, which once overheated becomes oily, it also thickens beautifully as it simmers and transforms into a suave, flavorful culinary concoction.
- Chicken stock. Chicken stock provides a solid umami foundation for the sauce. You may also use chicken base dissolved in water, in which case you will have a bit more control over the amount of liquid you are starting with and can shorten the thickening time (see recipe card for details).
- Garlic. A bit of minced garlic boosts up the savory base for the sauce. You may substitute with garlic powder.
- Lemon juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives the sauce its lemony flavor and tartness. Do not increase the amount too much beyond what the recipe calls for. We do not typically use the lemon zest with this particular sauce as it introduces bitterness. If you really want to use lemon zest, add it to the sauce as a finishing touch.
- Heavy cream. The almighty base for this sauce – stable and luxurious.
- Thickener (optional). If you find yourself short on time, patience, or both, you may thicken the sauce with a slurry comprised of 1/2 tbsp corn starch and 1 tbsp cold water (see recipe card notes).
- Seasonings (to taste). Salt and pepper to season the finished sauce as needed.
How to Make Lemon Cream Sauce
Step 1. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat combine the chicken stock, minced garlic, lemon juice and heavy cream. Stir and bring to a gentle boil.
Step 2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce, until it thickens to your desired consistency. This may take about 20 minutes. If you’d like to shorten the time, make a slurry by combining corn starch and cold water and gradually add it to the simmering sauce while stirring. This will thicken it almost instantly.
Step 3 (optional). After you are satisfied with the consistency of the creamy lemon infused sauce, taste it and season with salt and pepper as needed.
TIP: Rarely you may notice the minced garlic acquire a blueish green tint as it simmers. Do not panic. Garlic, especially if a bit older, can change its color in the presence of a strong acid. Another reason for this to happen is that the mixture of ingredients, including the lemon juice, didn’t reach a gentle boil fast enough.
If your minced garlic changes color know that it is due to the workings of enzymes and just strain the sauce at the end for an appetizing look.
Versatile Uses for Lemon Cream Sauce
- pasta – flat strand noodles such as fettuccine, linguine (above) and pappardelle are best suited on the receiving end of cream sauces like this one.
- skillet asparagus
- grilled or steamed veggies
- pan seared salmon
- shrimp or lobster
- grilled, poached or baked fish
- lamb shoulder chops or lamb sirloin chops
- baked chicken legs or pan seared chicken breast or thighs
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- 2 cups chicken stock*
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 lemons, juice of
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream**
- 1/2 tbsp corn starch (optional)***
- In a sauce pan over medium-high heat combine the chicken stock, minced garlic, lemon juice and heavy creamy. Stir well and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce, until it thickens to your desire consistency. This may take 15 to 20 minutes. If you’d like to shorten the time simmer for 5 minutes and then make a slurry by combining 1/2 tbsp corn starch and 1 tbsp cold water. Gradually add it to the simmering sauce while stirring. This will thicken it almost instantly. Add in stages, you may not need to use up the entire amount.
- After you are satisfied with the consistency of the creamy lemon infused sauce, taste it and season with salt and pepper as needed.
*Substitute with 1 tbsp chicken base dissolved in water. You may reduce the amount of water to 1 cup which will essentially account for equal flavor intensity but will significantly shorten the time for reducing the sauce.
**Must use heavy cream.
***If you'd like to shorten the time for the sauce to thicken, mix the corn starch with 1 tbsp cold water to create a slurry.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 4g