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Sauces! You too can be a saucier'!

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posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 11:28 AM
For years I have had a knack with sauces. Hence, I will post some information I have learned along with a few recipes (at least one of which is my own original creation: My wine-cheese-garlic sauce).
A sauce is a liquid with flavor; it is usually thickened by a thickening agent. They are used to season, flavor and to accentuate the flavors on a dish. They also add:
It enriches foods
Appearance (adds color And texture)
Interest (to the person who is eating the dish)

The Structure of a sauce
The most common sauces are made from 3 types of ingredients:

1) Liquid, the liquid is the body of a sauce (1st layer of flavor). There are 5 different types of liquid or layers to start a sauce.
White stock (made from raw bones, often chicken)
Brown stock (made from roasted bones, most often beef)
Tomato stock
Clarified butter.

2) Thickening agent, (the sauce needs to stick to the food), there are different types of thickening agents:
Roux = 50% fat (butter) + 50% flour
Starch (vegetables, potatoes, bread, grains)
Heavy Cream

3) Seasonings and additional flavorings (2nd layer of flavor).
Mirepoix = 50% onions, 25% celery, 25% carrots
Onion pique = ½ onion, bay leaf, cloves
Bouquet garni = any type of vegetables or herbs tied together and used to flavor dishes.
Sachet bag = a bag made out of cheesecloth, filled with herbs and spices, to create and
add to a flavor to the dish. This is used when the chef does not want to see the herb in the finished

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 11:30 AM
Next will be descriptions of the 5 "mother sauces" from which most sauces are derived from.

1) Bechamel or white sauce.

Béchamel is probably the simplest of the mother sauces because it doesn't require making stock. If you have milk, flour and butter, you can make a very basic béchamel. It is commonly referred to as a white gravy.

Classic Béchamel is made by thickening hot milk with a simple white roux. The sauce is then flavored with onion, cloves and nutmeg and simmered until it is creamy and velvety smooth.

Béchamel can be used as an ingredient in baked pasta recipes like lasagna, and also in casseroles. But it's also the basis for some of the most common white sauces, cream sauces and cheese-based sauces. Here are some of the small sauces made from béchamel:
Crème Sauce
Mornay Sauce
Soubise Sauce
Nantua Sauce
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Mustard Sauce

2) Velouté or Stock Based Sauce

Velouté is another relatively simple mother sauce. It is a stock based bechamel sauce which can be enriched by egg or cream. Velouté sauce is made by thickening white stock with roux and then simmering it for a while. While the chicken velouté, made with chicken stock, is the most common type, there is also a veal velouté and fish velouté.

Each of the veloutés forms the basis of its own respective secondary mother sauce. For instance, chicken velouté fortified with cream becomes the Suprême Sauce. Veal velouté thickened with a liaison of egg yolks and cream becomes the Allemende Sauce. And the fish velouté plus white wine and heavy cream becomes the White Wine Sauce.

Small sauces from velouté can be derived from the velouté directly, or from each of the three secondary sauces. For example:
Normandy Sauce
Bercy Sauce
Hungarian Sauce
Mushroom Sauce
Aurora Sauce
Poulette Sauce
Shrimp Sauce
Herb Seafood Sauce

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 11:31 AM
3) Espagnole or Brown Sauce

The Espagnole Sauce, also sometimes called Brown Sauce, is a slightly more complex mother sauce. Espagnole is made by thickening brown stock with roux. So in that sense it's similar to a velouté. The difference is that espagnole is made with tomato purée and mirepoix for deeper color and flavor. Moreover, brown stock itself is made from bones that have first been roasted to add color and flavor.

The espagnole is traditionally further refined to produce a rich, deeply flavorful sauce called a demi-glace. The demi-glace is then the starting point for making the various small sauces. A demi-glace consists of a mixture of half espagnole, half brown stock, which is then reduced by half.

For a short-cut, you could skip the demi-glace step and make the small sauces directly from the espagnole. You'll lose some flavor and body, but you'll save time. Here are some examples of small sauces made from espagnole:
Marchand de Vin Sauce (Red Wine Reduction)
Robert Sauce
Charcutière Sauce
Lyonnaise Sauce
Chasseur Sauce
Bercy Sauce
Mushroom Sauce
Madeira Sauce
Port Wine Sauce

4) Hollandaise or Emulsion Sauces

Hollandaise is unlike the mother sauces we've mentioned so far, but as you'll see, it is really just a liquid and a thickening agent, plus flavorings. Hollandaise is a tangy, buttery sauce made by slowly whisking clarified butter into warm egg yolks. So the liquid here is the clarified butter and the thickening agent is the egg yolks.

Hollandaise is an emulsified sauce, and we use clarified butter when making a Hollandaise because whole butter, which contains water and milk solids, can break the emulsion. Clarified butter is just pure butterfat, so it helps the emulsion remain stable.

Hollandaise sauce can be used on its own, and it's particularly delicious on seafood, vegetables and eggs. But there are also a number of small sauces that can be made from Hollandaise:
Béarnaise Sauce
Dijon Sauce
Foyot Sauce
Choron Sauce
Maltaise Sauce
Mousseline Sauce

5) Classic Tomate Sauce

The fifth mother sauce is the classic Tomate Sauce. 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.

First we render salt pork and then sauté aromatic vegetables. Then we add tomatoes, stock and a ham bone, and simmer it in the oven for a couple of hours. Cooking the sauce in the oven helps heat it evenly and without scorching.

Traditionally, the sauce tomate was thickened with roux, and some chefs still prepare it this way. But in reality, the tomatoes themselves are enough to thicken the sauce. Here are a few small sauces made from the classic tomate sauce:
Spanish Sauce
Creole Sauce
Portuguese Sauce
Provençale Sauce

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 11:32 AM
My favorite sauces:

-Mexican sour cream sauce (if you like sour cream, you will love this. Great on chicken enchiladas and many other uses as well)
-Hollandaise (not an easy sauce to make... for me, the most difficult)
-Cheese sauce (makes for great homemade mac'n cheese! as well as great on broccoli)
-My wine-cheese-garlic sauce (great over chicken and rice)
-Classic Beurre Blanc Sauce (awesome, rich yet mild, classic french sauce for fish, pork or veggies)

We will start by making a simple, yet complex, mild flavored sauce: the Classic Beurre Blanc. This is a french butter sauce flavored with white wine and shallots that is great on a baked or pan fried mild flavored fish. Will also work well on veggies such as roasted or steamed asparagus.

1 tbsp finely minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
8 tbsp unsalted, cold butter (frozen is great)
kosher salt (to taste)
white pepper (to taste)
lemon juice (to finish)

Before preparing the sauce, cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and keep cold in the freezer.

To prepare the beurre blanc, place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots and the wine.

Reduce the liquid by about two-thirds until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

Turn the heat to the lowest setting and whisk in the cold butter one piece at a time to slowly form the emulsion. When one piece has almost completely melted, add the next.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated, season with salt and pepper. You may want to add a few drops of lemon juice to brighten the flavor of the sauce. This is called "finishing" the sauce, since the addition of acidity will enhance the flavor of the sauce beyond just adding a touch of lemon.

Monitor the sauce closely while you cook the rest of the meal. Keep the sauce warm to the touch and whisk often to prevent it from splitting. You may need to turn the heat off and on to keep it at the correct temperature. The heat does not always need to be on, as the residual heat from the pan will keep it warm.

edit on 17-8-2014 by bbracken677 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:01 PM
I worked in catering management for years and have cooked for more than 20, including most of those sauces and like many things in life, sometimes the simplest is the best.

I really like white sauce (Béchamel), when I make lasagne I always cover it in loads of white sauce, it is also served here on cauliflower and on pearl onions, it really is fabulous when made properly and IMO it should be made with proper butter, plenty of salt, white pepper and the flour in the roux cooked thoroughly though not browned obviously.

The combination of creamy milk, salt, butter and cooked flour is so simple but so delicious.

The best salt I have found for white sauce, and generally is either Maldon, sel Gris or the only type I use now, is pink Himalayan salt, it has a nice flavour IMO and has been in the rocks for 250 million years from ancient unpolluted seas.

I also prefer just salted crisps to flavoured and plain salted roast chicken sandwiches to chicken salad etc. Good salt is a condiment in itself. Though obviously I don't use too much salt, the Himalayan pink salt also has some good minerals.

I am thankful you made this thread, I was starting to wonder if Americans cooked anything other than mixtures of things from cans and packets or in microwaves.
edit on 17-8-2014 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:01 PM
Awesome thread, I'm looking forward to more tips, thanks!

I struggle with sauces a lot, because I don't seem to have the knack of reducing and/or thickening down. Even when I follow a recipe exactly, I usually wind up with watery sauces, not sure why. The flavour is always spot on, just too runny.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:02 PM
Next will be the Mexican Sour Cream Sauce. This one is one of my own creations. In a nutshell, there was a Mexican Restaurant in Pearl, MS whose chicken enchiladas were divine! I quizzed "Mama" (the cook's wife) who would tell me nothing about the recipe at first. After asking for hints and taking any tact I could she finally dropped a couple of hints that led me to reverse engineering the sauce as close as I could. The results are as follows:

3 cups chicken stock
2 cups sour cream
1-3 tablespoons sliced jalapeños, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour

Over medium heat, add the jalapeños to the chicken stock and then simmer until reduced by 1/3.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add the flour to make the roux.
Add the chicken stock slowly, stirring/whisking to fully mix in the stock before adding more.
Once the stock and roux are fully incorporated bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent lumping.
Once it has begun to simmer, add the sour cream, mix well.
It is now ready to be poured over your chicken enchiladas, or used as a sauce over pan cooked, roasted or broiled chicken or whatever other uses you can imagine.

You can also finish the sauce with some of the vinegar-jalapeño juice if you used pickled jalapeños.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:04 PM

originally posted by: theabsolutetruth
I really like white sauce, when I make lasagne I always cover it in loads of white sauce...

The lasagna we prepared at our restaurants was done the same way which is much more traditional than using ricotta, which I find actually makes the dish much more watery.

I like the creamy texture of the béchamel when paired with the savory meat sauce in this dish.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:07 PM
a reply to: theabsolutetruth

Thank you!

I too like the Himalayan. I have the crystals in a salt mill. I normally cook with kosher. I guess it's a comfort thing, I know what a pinch will accomplish lol

My fascination with sauces began almost 30 years ago and little by little I have expanded my knowledge base and experience. Most recently by diving into the world of lesser known french sauces such as the buerre blanc. Lesser known to me anyway. A real chef is another matter altogether. I am just a piker lol

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:21 PM

originally posted by: adjensen
Awesome thread, I'm looking forward to more tips, thanks!

I struggle with sauces a lot, because I don't seem to have the knack of reducing and/or thickening down. Even when I follow a recipe exactly, I usually wind up with watery sauces, not sure why. The flavour is always spot on, just too runny.

The key to reducing (IMO) is slow and patient. I prefer to simmer at the lowest possible temperature setting that will still maintain the simmer. Be patient, the reduction will happen. want to add any thickeners (generally speaking) after the reduction has been performed, unless the recipe directly instructs differently.

Oh, and a little cheat I use: if the sauce is not quite thick enough and you need to add more thickener an easy way to accomplish this is to take some of the liquid in a cup, add your thickening agent, mix well and then add back into your sauce, mixing/whisking well. This way you will prevent lumps.

edit on 17-8-2014 by bbracken677 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 12:26 PM
I have experimented with a few differ roux recipes.
The best I have come up with is to first toast the flour in a skillet over high heat while stirring frequently.
When it begins to turn a light tan and release a nice nutty aroma, turn off the heat. Add butter (lard or pork drippings work fine, too) and stir it in until you get a color and consistency like peanut butter. I use it mainly for thickening gumbo.
I'm going to be helping a friend open a restaurant soon, so I'll experiment with some of your recipes. Thanks.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 01:00 PM
Now, my wine-cheese-garlic sauce. This grew from my desire to serve a nice wine sauce for serving with chicken and rice. This sauce began as a simple wine flavored Veloute' sauce but grew as I added layers of flavor. My kids still refer to the dish as chicken 'n goo! They love it and often request it when they visit. There is nothing subtle about this sauce!! I am going to "wing" a recipe, since I normally just make it and adjust ingredients to taste. I tend to add the wine at 3 stages of cooking...I want to make sure the wine flavor comes through, without overpowering the other flavors.

I start off by making a chicken stock from scratch, but you can also achieve similar results a couple of different ways. Chefs will probably cringe as they see this recipe, but this was developed before I even knew of sauce basics, let alone more advanced techniques. I violate basics such as pairing a white wine with! A white wine does not provide the same depth of flavor as the Burgundy I use. I recommend a Burgundy with this...I have tried merlot and California reds but for me, a cheap burgundy provides the exact flavor enhancement I look for and other wines just do not work as well. Buy the cheapest bottle of Burgundy you can find. No need to spend bucks on this ingredient. Cheap works fine and possibly even best.

I am going to provide the process, and then later when I get a chance will work out an ingredients list and improved process description.

Normally I take chicken strips and after coating them with flour I fry them in a deep pot in butter until golden brown. I do not salt them, since there is no need for salt with this dish. The cheese will bring plenty of salt to the sauce. I also use unsalted butter.

After finishing and removing all the chicken strips from the pot, I will add minced/chopped garlic... a lot of it. I briefly sauté the garlic before making my roux.

With the remaining butter in the pot (or adding as needed) I will then add flour to make a roux incorporating any pieces of browned chicken breading that remains. I will then add about half a cup of the burgundy to the roux followed after that is mixed in with milk. You want to make sure you are not using a wine that has, even partially, gone to vinegar...your milk will clabber if it has.

So now I have this sauce, or gravy that is wine flavored. I have reduced my chicken stock to about a cup. Another short cut here is to use those Knorr packets of "Homestyle Chicken Stock". You can add one or 2 of them, or your homemade stock to the sauce at this point.

My goal at this point is to have a sauce that has layers of garlic, chicken and wine flavors without one overpowering the others. I have found that as I progress often I have to add more wine or more garlic to maintain those. If I have to increase the chicken flavor I will add some of the Knorr chicken stock packet. It is not uncommon that I have added wine 3 times during the the beginning, at the mid point before adding the cheese, and then just a touch after adding the cheese.

Now...assuming I am satisfied with the balance of powers, I add about 12 ozs of shredded mozzarella. Once melted I make a final assessment of flavors and then it is ready to be poured over the chicken, sitting on a bed of rice.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 01:03 PM

originally posted by: skunkape23
I have experimented with a few differ roux recipes.
The best I have come up with is to first toast the flour in a skillet over high heat while stirring frequently.
When it begins to turn a light tan and release a nice nutty aroma, turn off the heat. Add butter (lard or pork drippings work fine, too) and stir it in until you get a color and consistency like peanut butter. I use it mainly for thickening gumbo.
I'm going to be helping a friend open a restaurant soon, so I'll experiment with some of your recipes. Thanks.

I have done that before, myself. I do that when I make gumbo. The thickening ability of the flour decreases so you can make a roux and still have a fairly thin sauce while incorporating that nutty flavor you spoke of.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 01:28 PM
Thank you for this. I am no chef but I do enjoy cooking dinner myself, instead of going out. I cook a lot of Cajun food, Mexican food, traditional American, and I am learning Italian food, well beside spaghetti, I have always made that, now that my better half, is half Italian.

I have been thinking about learning to make homemade sauces. I usually buy them. I was just talking about it last night. Then low and behold. I find this thread on ATS of all places.

So again thank you for this. I am for sure gonna make the Mexican sour creme sauce. Also looking forward to your wine-cheese-garlic sauce.
edit on 17-8-2014 by karmicecstasy because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 01:29 PM
a reply to: bbracken677

Thank you for the great sauces...Here is a couple of my favorite Persian sauces...Egg plant sauce_grill some eggplants with the peels on until they are softened and mushy.then take the peels off and put them in the food processor add finely chopped garlic,some fresh yoghurt,olive oil,salt and pepper and mix it well.garnish with finely chopped almonds or your favorite nuts.This sauce goes well with a variety of meat and vegetable dishes...Then walnut sauce_grind some walnuts fry them slightly in some butter and finely chopped shallots,then add some home made chicken broth,pomegranate sauce, a table spoon of natural honey,some turmeric,salt and pepper and let it simmer for 1/5 hour,mix frequently,garnish with Iranian saffron.This sauce goes great with chicken dishes...You can even make a very tasty chicken stew in this sauce and serve it with Basmati rice,it is called Fesenjan.

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 02:15 PM
Basic Cheese Sauce

Start off with a couple tablespoons of butter, melt in a sauce pan, then add the same amount of flour to make your roux. Cook on medium for just a couple or 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add milk to make your béchamel sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes (5-10 mins)

Now you can get creative. For homemade mac'n cheese I start off adding a good sharp or extra sharp shredded cheddar. I add it a bit at a time, stirring in and as it begins to melt I add in a bit more until it is all incorporated in the béchamel. I then add a much smaller amount of shredded parmesan...just enough to add a touch of flavor to the cheddar. This can then be poured over your cooked pasta for a great cheese'n mac.

You can use whatever cheeses you want (as long as they are meltable..not all are). If you want to get fancy and rich with the sauce, you can use cream instead of milk and you can use such cheeses as brie, or gruyere or mix and match to change up the flavors. You can also include other flavorings, perhaps sautéing some onion and garlic before adding the flour to make your roux.

Your cheesy sauce can be used on veggies, pasta, you name it!

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 02:16 PM
a reply to: shapur

Those are intriguing! I will have to give them a try this coming week!

Thanks for the suggestion!

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 02:18 PM
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

I only use bechamel in lasagne, never ricotta, and some fresh parmesan on top.

I use mascarpone or ricotta and parmesan for a fast macaroni cheese sauce, tastes good. I also sometimes use Ricotta instead of Mascarpone in puddings, like Tiramisu.
edit on 17-8-2014 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 02:40 PM
a reply to: bbracken677

To make Alfredo, which is a cheese sauce, is similar to the above recipe, but made richer. This illustrates how one can take a basic sauce and make it richer, and add different flavors.

Melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter in a saucepan or skillet. Add 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, finely diced. Those of you who are not garlic fans might prefer 1 or 2 cloves
Me, I prefer lots of garlic!!
Add a 2 cups of heavy cream and let simmer a few minutes while maintaining a steady whisking. Since this is heavy cream I always go for a very very slow simmer.
Next add 3 or 4 cups of parmesan (maybe start with 3, and then add a 4th if you feel it needs it) a bit at a time. Whisk quickly and as the parmesan begins to melt, add more. Once fully incorporated and smooth, add some chopped italian parsley and voila'!

A most decadent and rich sauce!!

posted on Aug, 17 2014 @ 04:00 PM
You should get hold of a copy of Le repetoire de la cuisine. It has all the basic stocks and sauce recipes as well as their more advanced derivatives ie mayonnaise to tartar sauce. It doesn't carry exacting recipes as most chefs will put there own slant on them. It is an industry standard book ne

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