I am spoiled in that my wife is a chef and she can help me out of jams. She can demonstrate proper technique, answer my questions and explain why things go south. This came in very handy when I used a recipe from Saveur to make a pan sauce that was new to me.
I doubt seriously that many recipes are tested before publication. I know for a fact that the recipe for this mustard sauce as originally written simply would not have yielded enough and was prone to burning due to low volume combined with the time needed to cook out the brandy. I've re-written the original recipe based upon last night's experimentation and assure you that it's rock solid.
In addition to beef, I think it's possible to use this sauce with turkey, quail and potatoes. I wouldn't use it with chicken as you need a bit of flavor in the protein to balance the mustard flavor.
Mustard Cream Sauce
3/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 1/2 tablespoons good quality Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper
Finely chopped parsley
1. Pan fry your steak as you normally would. After you remove the steaks from the saute pan to rest, deglaze the pan with about half of the brandy. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the fond.
2. Transfer the brandy and fond to a small saucepan.
3. Add cream and mustard, season with salt and pepper, then simmer until the sauce is nape.
4. Spoon the sauce over your steak or other protein and garnish with chopped parsley.
Because this sauce has a fair amount of brandy, it needs a while to cook down. It's hard to do this in a saute pan, as the sauce may burn before the brandy is reduced in potency. If the sauce is nape, yet the brandy flavor still remains, add a bit of cream and mustard at a ratio of 3 parts cream to 1 part mustard and continue simmering.