Sauces - Definition and Recipes
Utensils for Making Sauces
Pointed strainer, saucepan, double-boiler, cup holding half a pint, wire whisk, wooden spoon, tablespoon filled with butter.
Alexis Soyer, referring to this subject, writes: “Sauces are to cookery what grammar is to language ’’—a most apt comparison, for grammars, have been adapted in a hundred different ways to suit the genius of the languages they dominate.
And so with sauces; they form an essential part of cookery, yet the innumerable variations of each class have to be skilfully adapted to the dishes with which they are amalgamated or served, to give some necessary flavoring or produce some desired effect.
Every cook should endeavor to attain proficiency in this branch of cookery, a task by no means so difficult as the number of sauces would lead us to suppose, for, if the few that have for their base either oil, wine, or fruit, are excluded, the remainder are merely variations of the two foundation sauces, white and brown.
Difference between Sauces and Gravies
Gravy is simply the juices of meat, diluted and seasoned but not thickened, except the slightly thickened brown gravy, which ought really to rank as a thin sauce.
Sauce has been defined as a LIQUID SEASONING, thickened by means of one of the following liaisons (or mixtures of yolk of eggs, cream, etc., used for thickening or binding white soups and sauces).
- White Roux:
In making white roux, equal quantities of butter and flour are stirred in a stewpan over a slow fire for Io or 15 minutes, but without allowing the roux to take any colour. If for immediate use, the roux must cool slightly before adding the liquid.
- Fawn Roux:
For a fawn or blonde roux, take equal quantities of butter and flour, and cook slowly over the fire or in a cool oven until the mixture acquires a pale fawn colour.
- Brown Roux:
This third variety is usually called “stock roux,” because where roux is being constantly used a large quantity of it is made and kept in stock, The proportion of butter and flour are the same as for white and fawn roux. The nut-brown colour is obtained by a long, slow process of frying or roasting, during which much of the flavor, characteristic of well-made brown sauce, is developed.
- Eggs and Cream
This thickening is composed of yolks of eggs beaten up with a small quantity of cream, milk, or white stock. The sauce to which this liaison (or thickening) is added must require no further cooking. One or two tablespoonfuls of hot sauce should be mixed with the eggs and cream, and the whole then strained into the sauce, which should be just below boiling point. To remove the raw taste of the eggs, it is necessary to cook and stir the sauce by the side of the fire for a few minutes, but it must not be allowed to boil, or the eggs may curdle.
- Butter and Cream
When butter and cream are employed for thickening, they are added in equal proportions to the sauce JUST BEFORE SERVING: re-heating would spoil the flavour of the sauce.
- Blended Butter and Flour
This form of liaison is exceedingly useful when no roux is at hand, and a little additional thickening is required. Butter will absorb about its own weight in flour, and the two are kneaded together on a plate until all the flour is absorbed, or, in other words, thoroughly moistened by the butter. This liaison should be added to the sauce in small portions and stirred until it is smoothly mixed with it.
This liaison is used principally to thicken sauces for game and poultry entrées. The blood of poultry or game should be mixed with a little vinegar, to prevent coagulation. It should be strained and added gradually to the sauce a few minutes before serving.
- Arrowroot, Corn Flour, Fecule
Before adding any of these substances to the sauce, they must be smoothly mixed with a little cold stock, milk, or water. The liaison is stirred into the boiling sauce, and simmered for not less than 2 minutes to cook the starch.