Sauce 5 – Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise SauceHollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and liquid butter, usually seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and a little white pepper or cayenne pepper. In appearance, it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy. The flavor is rich and buttery, with a mild tang added by an acidic component such as lemon juice, yet not so strong as to overpower mildly-flavoured foods. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying)
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoon lemon juice (the juice from 1 small lemon)
1 tablespoon cold water
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste

Directions:

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Also, your clarified butter should be warm, but not hot. Combine the egg yolks and the cold water in a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminum) whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. Whisk in a couple of drops of lemon juice, too. The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the eggs for a minute or two, until they’re slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. Continue beating in the melted butter. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better.

After you’ve added all the butter, whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished hollandaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. It’s best to serve hollandaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

Bernaise SauceBéarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise is a rich, buttery, aromatic sauce featuring shallots, tarragon and crushed black peppercorns. It’s one of the most amazing sauces to serve with a grilled steak. If you will be serving this sauce with meat, and you keep kosher, instead of using butter, you should use margarine so that the sauce remains pareve (non-dairy). This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying)
4 egg yolks
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon*
1 tablespoon chopped chervil (or parsley)*
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Also, your clarified butter should be warm, but not hot. In a separate saucepan, heat the vinegar, shallots, peppercorns and half of the tarragon to a simmer and reduce until the mixture is nearly dry (au sec). There should be about two tablespoons of liquid remaining. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminum). Add the egg yolks and whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the egg-vinegar mixture for a minute or two, until it is slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. Continue beating in the melted butter.

As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better. After you’ve added all the butter, strain the sauce into a new bowl, stir in the chervil and the remaining tarragon. Season to taste with lemon juice, Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished béarnaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. It’s best to serve béarnaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

* click here to learn how to properly clean tarragon, chervil and parsley.

Chantilly SauceChantilly Sauce

The Chantilly Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding stiffly whipped cream to a basic Hollandaise sauce. Sometimes called Mousseline sauce, it can be served with seafood, vegetables or poultry, or, sweetened, on crepes and other desserts. The Chantilly Sauce can also be made with whipped egg whites instead of whipped cream. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Hollandaise sauce
½ cup heavy cream

Directions:

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold it into 1 pint Hollandaise sauce. Serve right away.

Mother Sauces – Day 5

Mother SaucesAhh Hollandaise sauce! My absolute favourite out of the five, if not out of all the sauces out there. Yes, I realize that is a pretty big statement to make, but have you tasted it??? It is just so good! Hollandaise is a wonderfully rich, lemony and buttery sauce that goes with eggs, vegetables and poached fish. The sauce is pretty famous for being a key ingredient in Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine. But what about to accompany artichokes?! That is my absolute favourite way to eat both the sauce and the vegetable. I realize I’m being a little obsessive about this sauce, I mean it’s just a sauce for Pete’s sake, but it is just so good. You know how certain food things just make you happy? For me that would be roasted turkey (the white meat) with cranberry sauce, sashimi, creamy mashed potatoes with rich brown gravy, and you guessed it, artichokes with hollandaise sauce. I know, this isn’t the first time that I will call myself strange in this blog.

As for the history of the sauce, there is debate as to who originally developed it. Some historians believe that it was invented in the Netherlands then taken to France by the Huguenots (what the Protestants of the time where called in a mainly Catholic France). A recipe for hollandaise sauce appears in a Dutch cookbook by Carel Baten, which dates from 1593. In 1651, François Pierre La Varenne describes a sauce similar to hollandaise in his groundbreaking cookbook Le Cuisinier François: “avec du bon beurre frais, un peu de vinaigre, sel et muscade, et un jaune d’œuf pour lier la sauce” (“with good fresh butter, a little vinegar, salt, and nutmeg, and an egg yolk to bind the sauce”). The sauce using egg yolks and butter appeared in the 19th century. Although various sources say it was first known as “sauce Isigny” (a town in Normandy said to have been renowned for the quality of its butter), Isabella Beeton’s Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management has recipes in the first edition (1861) for “Dutch sauce, for fish” and its variant on the following page, “Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte”. Her directions for hollandaise were to “…put all the ingredients, except the lemon-juice, into a stew-pan; set it over the fire, and keep continually stirring. When it is sufficiently thick, take it off, as it should not boil…”

No matter where it orginated, it’s here now, and I for one am grateful. Hollandaise is made by emulsifying butter, lemon juice and egg yolks, and has a few popular small sauces. Here are a couple examples:

• Béarnaise = shallots + tarragon + chervil + peppercorns + white wine vinegar + hollandaise
• Chantilly = whipped heavy cream + hollandaise

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks journey into the mother of all sauces, and their children. Next week? I think things are going to get a little sweet around here.

Sauce 4 – Basic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce 1This is a traditional tomato sauce that I have adjusted to reflect a kosher kitchen: meaning that the salt pork and ham bone have been removed, and substituted with an equal amount of olive oil and the use of a beef marrow bone. Should you wish to make the sauce pareve, or vegetarian, you can leave out the bone all together. This recipe will make about 4 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups veal or chicken stock
1 beef marrow bone
Kosher salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems
8-10 black peppercorns, crushed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Tie the sachet ingredients into a cheesecloth sack using a piece of kitchen twine. In a heavy, oven-safe Dutch oven, bring the olive oil up to temperature. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes, the beef bone (if using), the stock and the sachet. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Simmer in the oven, partially covered, for two hours. Remove from oven. Remove sachet and bone and purée sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season to taste with Kosher salt and a small amount of sugar — just enough to cut the acid edge of the tomatoes. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Creole SauceCreole Sauce

Creole sauce, also referred to as creole tomato sauce, and sauce piquant in New Orleans, is a Creole cuisine, Bahamian cuisine and New Orleans cuisine sauce made by sautéeing vegetables in butter and olive oil. It is used in the American south and in Bahamas. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe above)
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of 1 lemon*
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, oregano and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season with the salt, pepper and cayenne and serve right away.

* click here for my tips on zesting lemons and other citrus.

spanish sauceSpanish Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce with a spanish flair can also be refered to as a sofrito – which in Spanish cuisine, consists of garlic, onion, paprika, peppers, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. While there is no paprika in this recipe, the additions of the the mushrooms and olives add a nice earthy and salty kick. This sauce is great on meats and poultry, or even just over pasta. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce (or another hot pepper sauce), to taste
½ cup olives (black or green), sliced

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, Tabasco and olives, then serve right away.

Mother Sauces – Day 4

Mother SaucesSauce tomate is one of the five mother sauces of classical French cooking, as codified by Auguste Escoffier. It consists of salt belly of pork, onions, bay leaves, thyme, tomato purée or fresh tomatoes, roux, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. This sauce resembles the traditional tomato sauce that we might use on pasta and pizza, but it’s got much more flavor and requires a few more steps to make. Obviously in a kosher kitchen, you’re not going to find a salt belly of pork lying around anywhere. To duplicate this flavour profile, I would suggest using something that adds fat, saltiness and if you can, a touch of smoke. So, for the fat, I would suggest some nice olive oil, good quality, but nothing too expensive. For the salt and smoke aspects, you can add extra salt or even some of the smoked salts out there. That would be a nice double whammy. If you want to have it be meat based, you can always add a little smoked deli meat instead. That will get you most of what you need, though you may need a little more fat (oil). If you cook the sauce low and slow, the meat will break up and virtually disappear in the sauce. If you don’t want to go the meat way, you can go the fish one instead! Try adding a filet or two of anchovies right at the beginning when you are sautéeing your onions. The anchovies will disintegrate in the sauce, and it will have that je ne sais quoi or umami taste that people can’t place, but know that they like!

So, if tomato sauce is the mamma, then these two variations are her babies:

  • Creole = onion + celery + garlic + tomato sauce + bay leaf + thyme + green pepper + hot sauce
  • Spanish = creole sauce + mushrooms + olives

There are dozens of other variations out there, in fact, way too many to list (unless this site was devoted to only tomato sauces!) Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of sauce week with my all time favourite sauce: Hollandaise!

Sauce 3 – Espagnole Sauce

Please note that these recipes call for the use of butter and “brown stock” aka beef stock. Kosher regulations would not permit this, as we cannot mix dairy and meat together. The alternatives in this case are to either use margarine in place of the butter or to use imitation beef stock, which is pareve, and is not considered to be meat.

espagnole sauceEspagnole Sauce

In cooking, Espagnole sauce is one of Auguste Escoffier’s five mother sauces that are the basis of sauce-making in classic French cooking. These types of sauces were already gathered in different Spanish cooking handbooks of the late 19th century. Escoffier popularized the recipe, which is still followed today. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

½ cup onions, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups brown stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Add the mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) and sauté for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned. Don’t let it burn, though. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the mirepoix a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated and forms a thick paste or roux. Lower the heat and cook the roux for another five minutes or so, until it’s light brown. Don’t let it burn! The roux will have a slightly nutty aroma at this point.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the stock and tomato purée to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Bring to a boil, lower heat, add the sachet and simmer for about 50 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the sauce from the heat and retrieve the sachet. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Demi-GlaceDemi-Glace Recipe

Demi-glace (pronounced “demi-GLASS”) is a rich and deeply flavorful sauce that is traditionally served with red meats. Demi-glace is made by reducing a mixture of half basic brown sauce and half brown stock. Demi-glace is also the starting point for many so-called “small sauces” that are derived from the espagnole. For more flavor, you can add a sachet d’epices while reducing the demi-glace, but this is strictly optional. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups brown stock
2 cups brown sauce (espagnole)
——– For Optional Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

Combine the brown sauce and the brown stock in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer, add the sachet and reduce for about 45 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by half. Remove pan from heat and retrieve the sachet. Carefully pour the demi-glace through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

Bordelaise SauceBordelaise Sauce

Rich and flavorful, it takes just a small drizzle of this bordelaise sauce recipe to perk up a simple, grilled steak or slow-roasted beef. The tangy, savory red wine sauce is also a great accompaniment to roasted potatoes. This recipe will make about 1 ¼ cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

¾ cup dry red wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cold butter or margarine

Directions:

Add the red wine, shallots, thyme, and bay leaf to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to half its original volume. Add the beef stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, again. Skim and discard any foam that appears on top of the sauce. Continue cooking the bordelaise until it has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Use the sauce immediately or, if you are holding the sauce for later, lightly rub the cold butter across the hot surface of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming.

Madeira SauceMadeira Sauce

The Madeira Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding Madeira wine to a basic demi-glace. The Madeira sauce is an excellent accompaniment for roasts and steaks. Making this sauce is easy enough — it’s simply a matter of stirring some Madeira wine and butter into a demi-glace. It’s making the demi-glace itself that’s the time-consuming part. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint demi-glace
¼ cup Madeira wine*
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the demi-glace to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. Stir in the Madeira wine and swirl in the butter. Serve right away.

* If you can’t find kosher Madeira wine, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the ¼ cup called for in this recipe with either 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or about an equal amount of dry red wine or stock.

Mushroom SauceMushroom Sauce

This classic mushroom sauce can be served with all kinds of roasted or grilled meat dishes, including steaks. It’s made with sautéed mushrooms, shallots and just a splash of sherry, and simmered in a basic demi-glace. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry**
2 cups demi-glace
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it’s frothy. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the demi-glace, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry, season to taste with lemon juice and serve right away.

** If you can’t find kosher Sherry, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe with either 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons of either orange or pineapple juice.

Mother Sauces – Day 3

Mother SaucesOkay people, day three! Today’s sauce is Espagnole (pronounced like the word for Spanish: “español”) is a basic brown sauce that is one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine. Although espagnole is the French word for Spanish, the sauce connection with Spanish cuisine is argued by French cookers. According to Louis Diat, the creator of vichyssoise and the author of the classic Gourmet’s Basic French Cookbook:

“There is a story that explains why the most important basic brown sauce in French cuisine is called sauce espagnole, or Spanish sauce. According to the story, the Spanish cooks of Louis XIII’s bride, Anne, helped to prepare their wedding feast, and insisted upon improving the rich brown sauce of France with Spanish tomatoes. This new sauce was an instant success, and was gratefully named in honour of its creators.”

However, in Kettner’s Book of the Table, published in 1877 and written by Auguste Kettner (former chef to Napoleon III, who emigrated to England and in 1867 opened a restaurant in Soho–Kettner’s– one of the oldest restaurants in London), there is an entirely different explanation:

When the Bourbons made their way to the Spanish throne under Louis XV, and when Spanish fashions came back to Paris, the French cooks took a hint from the Spanish pot-au-feu — the olla podrida — and produced a variation of their brown sauce which they called Spanish. The essential principle of the French pot-au-feu was beef ; the essential principle of the Spanish was bacon, ham, the red Estremadura sausage — all well smoked … The Duc de St. Simon sent home marvellous accounts of the hams of Montanches; there grew up a rage for Spanish hams; and the French were not to blame, for they have no hams of their own which have any reputation. Great as they are in pig’s flesh, they are poor hands at bacon and ham; and the treasures of Montanches were a revelation to them. They ran wild after ham … And so, by introducing the flavour of the Estremadura bacon and ham into the old brown sauce of the French, there came into being the Spanish sauce … The hams of Montanches are not too plentiful in this world of sorrow, and the cooks came to be satisfied with any ham — even with French ham, which is little better than salted pork. So the meaning of the prescription was lost; the peculiarity of the Spanish sauce passed away, and its name became a puzzle.

Espagnole is also the starting point for the demi-glace, a rich and deeply flavorful sauce that is traditionally served with red meats. Other sauces that are part of the Espagnole family are:

• Demi-Glace = espagnole + brown stock
• Bordelaise = red wine + shallots + bay leaf + thyme + black pepper + demi-glace
• Madeira = demi-glace + madeira wine
• Mushroom = mushroom caps + demi-glace

Sauce 2 – Béchamel Sauce

bechamel-sauceThis is a basic béchamel sauce recipe that is used for dishes like moussaka or the base for an Alfredo. This recipe will make about 2 cups.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons clarified butter or ¼ stick unsalted butter
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ onion, peeled
1 whole clove
kosher salt, to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let it boil. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it’s liquefied. Don’t let it turn brown, though — that will affect the flavor. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale-yellow-coloured paste. This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another minute or so to cook off the taste of raw flour.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Now stick the pointy end of the clove into the onion and drop them into the sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about 20 percent, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the sauce from the heat. You can retrieve the clove-stuck onion and discard it now. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Season the sauce very lightly with salt and white pepper. Be particularly careful with the white pepper — and the nutmeg, if you’re using it. A little bit goes a long way! Keep the béchamel covered until you’re ready to use it.

Mornay SauceMornay Sauce Recipe

The Mornay Sauce is a classic cheese sauce made by enriching a standard Béchamel sauce with Gruyère and Parmesan cheese. The Mornay Sauce is an ideal accompaniment for eggs, vegetables, pasta or fish. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Béchamel sauce
½ cup Gruyère cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup whole milk, hot

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the Béchamel to a simmer. Add the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses and stir until the cheese has melted. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and adjust consistency with the hot milk if necessary. Serve right away.

cheddar cheese sauceCheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

The cheddar cheese sauce is a classic cheese sauce for vegetables made by enriching a standard Béchamel sauce with cheddar cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. It’s an ideal accompaniment for vegetables, pasta or fish. Oh, and did I mention nachos? Or macaroni? I mean, honestly, it’s a cheddar cheese sauce. Is there anything you can’t serve it with? This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Béchamel sauce
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup whole milk, hot

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the Béchamel to a simmer. Add the cheddar cheese and mustard powder and stir until the cheese has melted. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat and adjust consistency with the hot milk if necessary. Serve right away.

Soubise SauceSoubise Sauce Recipe

The Soubise Sauce is a classic cream sauce for vegetables made by sautéing onions and then puréeing them before adding to a basic Béchamel sauce. The Soubise Sauce is an excellent accompaniment for vegetables, eggs or chicken. Note: For a simple variation on the classic soubise sauce, add some tomato purée to the sauce just before serving. This recipe will make about 1 quart of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 lb onions, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 quart Béchamel sauce
2 cups tomato purée (optional)

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onions until soft and translucent, but don’t let them turn brown. Transfer cooked onions to a food processor. Purée briefly and then return them to the pot. Whisk the Béchamel into the puréed onions and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add optional tomato purée and serve right away.

Mother Sauces – Day 2

Mother SaucesSo here is day 2 of “The Attack of the Mother Sauces”, and other than our final day (Hollandaise), I’d say this would be my favourite sauce! Today’s sauce is Béchamel (bay-shah-mell) is made with milk and white roux. That’s right people, I’m talking about the basis for every yummy, gooey, cheesy sauce out there!

The history behind the sauce is actually pretty interesting (in my opinion): The Béchamel sauce was used for centuries in Tuscan and Emilian cuisine and was imported in France by the cuisiners of Marie de’ Medici second wife of King Henry IV of France. Then the sauce became a main ingredient of the French Court’s cuisine and was easily renamed from its original Italian name of “Balsamella” to “Béchamel“after the Marquis de Béchamel. Béchamel was a financier who held the honorary post of chief steward to Louis XIV. The sauce under its familiar name first appeared in Le Cuisinier François, published in 1651 by François Pierre La Varenne (1615–1678), chef de cuisine to Nicolas Chalon du Blé, marquis d’Uxelles. The foundation of French cuisine, the Cuisinier François ran through some thirty editions in seventy-five years.

The sauce originally was a veal velouté with a large amount of cream added, however it evolved to what we know today of a mixture of a roux of flour and fat, cooked slightly, as to not darken, and then hot milk is whisked in along with an onion studded with a clove, salt, white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg to finish it off. What is amazing about this simple sauce, is what it turns into! Check out today’s recipes for the basic béchamel, along with these variations:

• Mornay = béchamel + Gruyère + Parmesan + butter
• Cheese = béchamel + cheddar + Worcestershire sauce + dry mustard
• Soubise = onions + butter + béchamel

Tomorrow we visit the dark side with a tour of Espagnole Sauce and it’s derivatives!

Sauce 1 – Velouté Sauce

Veloute SauceVelouté is a base for many popular soups and sauces. This recipe will make around 1 quart of sauce. These are the basic instructions:

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter or margarine (preferably clarified)
7 ¼ tablespoons flour
5 cups white stock, cold (chicken, veal, fish, or vegetable)

Directions:

Mix the flour and butter over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until you’ve made a blond roux. Gradually whisk in COLD stock, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 4 cups (approximately 20 minutes). Strain, if necessary.

Notes:
There’s no need to season velouté… this sauce is a base for other sauces so it should be seasoned according to the small or compound sauce specifications.

Bercy SauceBercy Sauce

The Bercy sauce, named after a district in the east of Paris, is a finished sauce for fish and seafood dishes. It’s made by reducing white wine and chopped shallots and then simmering in a basic fish velouté. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.
Ingredients

1 pint fish velouté
¼ cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the wine and shallots. Heat until the liquid boils, lower the heat a bit and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced by a little more than half. Add the velouté, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and chopped parsley. Season to taste with lemon juice and serve right away.

Normandy SauceSauce Normandy

The Normandy Sauce is a classical sauce for fish and seafood made by flavouring a fish velouté with chopped mushrooms and then thickening it with a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream called a liaison (click here for information on liaisons). This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups fish velouté
¼ cup fish stock
½ cup chopped mushrooms
½ cup heavy cream (or non-dairy creamer)
2 egg yolks
1½ tablespoons butter or margarine

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter and sauté the mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the velouté and the fish stock to the mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce by about one-third. In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat together the cream and egg yolks until smooth. This egg-cream mixture is called a liaison. Slowly add about a cup of the hot velouté into the liaison, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks don’t curdle from the heat. Now gradually whisk the warm liaison back into the velouté. Bring the sauce back to a gentle simmer for just a moment, but don’t let it boil. Strain, swirl in the remaining butter and serve right away.

Allemande SauceSauce Allemande

The Allemande Sauce (which is also sometimes called “German Sauce”) is a finished sauce made by thickening a veal velouté with a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream called a liaison. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups veal velouté
¼ cup heavy cream (or non-dairy creamer)
1 egg yolk
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the velouté over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about a cup. In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat together the cream and egg yolk until smooth. This egg-cream mixture is your liaison. Slowly add about a cup of the hot velouté into the liaison, whisking constantly so that the egg yolk doesn’t curdle from the heat. Now gradually whisk the warm liaison back into the velouté. Bring the sauce back to a gentle simmer for just a moment, but don’t let it boil. Season to taste with Kosher salt, white pepper and lemon juice. Strain and serve right away.

Sauce SupremeSauce Suprême

The Suprême Sauce is a finished sauce made by enriching a chicken velouté sauce with heavy cream. This recipe will make about 1 quart of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 quart chicken velouté
1 cup heavy cream or non-dairy creamer
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, gently heat the heavy cream to just below a simmer, but don’t let it boil. Cover and keep warm. Heat the velouté in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about a cup. Stir the warm cream into the velouté and bring it back to a simmer for just a moment. Stir in the butter, season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper and just a dash of lemon juice. Strain through cheesecloth and serve right away.

Mother Sauces – Day 1

Mother SaucesSo thanks to last Friday’s post about pasta, it got me thinking about sauces. There are literally thousands of different types out there, but there is a root to most of them. What is this root? The Mother Sauces – five classic french sauces that act as the base for an unbelievable amount of variations. So this week, I will be going through each of the Mother Sauces, and giving you the recipe for the main sauce and some of the variations off of it. This is in no way a complete listing of each sauce’s potential, as there are both classic variations and those that are being created as we speak (or type or read, you get the idea).

Today’s sauce is the Velouté (veh-loo-tay) and it is one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine. It can be made with any white stock, but the most common version is the chicken velouté, which is made with chicken stock. There’s also a veal velouté and a fish velouté. Note that the velouté is not itself a finished sauce — that is to say, it isn’t typically served as is. You could, however, simply season it with salt and pepper and use it much as you would a basic gravy. All the chicken and turkey gravies your mom or grandma made would fall into the velouté category, along with these sauces:

• Bercy = shallots + white wine + fish stock + velouté + butter + parsley
• Normandy = fish stock + fish velouté + mushrooms + liaison
• Allemande = veal/chicken velouté + liaison
• Suprême = chicken velouté + cream

Check out today’s recipes to get the details on the variations above! And tomorrow’s sauce? Béchamel!