Leading Sauce: A sauce that serves as a “mother sauce” for small sauces. August Escoffier stated in his writing that there are five leading warm sauces. They are Espagnole, Tomato, Hollandaise, Veloute, Béchamel.
I would add Beurre Blanc to my list for French Classic Cooking. Of course, In other cultures, there are certainly examples of warm mother sauces, but it is the French who adhere to mis en place logic of organization so hence the nod to Escoffier's teaching. In Latin Cuisines, warm chile pepper sauces serve as a basis for not only smaller sauces, but also, in their leading sauce form, they can be served on a wide variety of dishes each with its own very distinctive flavor profile. Sauce is transformational. It can have many personalities while remaining unchanged in its preparation generation after generation. Sauces are mysterious, fun, frightening, sexy, sophisticated.
Sauce is everything in cooking.
In my guide to stocks, I proclaim that stocks are the foundation upon which cuisine is built. Now that we have the foundation in place, let’s explore our options. First, you may notice that only three of the leading sauces contain stock. Tomato, Veloute, and Espagnole. With the number of smaller sauces that can be made just from those three, I could write volumes- all in good time.
Let’s start with my favorite vegetable- tomato.
Please note: in classic recipe writing T= tablespoon and t= teaspoon.
The recipe that I use for tomato sauce has evolved over my career. Please do not confuse this sauce with Marinara. This is my version of a classic French tomato leading sauce. From this recipe, many smaller sauces can be derived. These include Bolognese, Puttanesca, Chasseur, Sauce for stuffed peppers or cabbage, Curry, Meatloaf gravy, etc. I try to only make this recipe from garden-fresh, never refrigerated summer tomatoes. Once made, it can be frozen with some degree of success. Whole canned tomatoes can be substituted – the San Marzano variety work quite well, during the offseason.
Yield: 2-1/2 quarts
2 pounds tomatoes
2 T bacon lard
½ pound onion - slivered
1 whole garlic bulb cut in half
3 bay leaves
1 sturdy sprig of fresh thyme
12 black peppercorns
1-quart beef/veal or chicken stock
3 T sugar
1 T sea salt
In a thick bottomed 2-gallon pot that has been set on the stove over medium heat, add the bacon lard and the slivered onions. Let these brown slightly, and then add the garlic, split side down for two minutes. Pour in the quart of stock and bring to a slow boil. Add the bay leaves, black peppercorns, and fresh thyme. While this reduces by half, cut the tomatoes into 1-inch dice with a very sharp knife. – The sharper the better for fresh tomatoes, as this helps to keep the juice in the tomato instead of on the cutting board. Place the diced tomato into a blender, and puree until very smooth. Once the reduction of stock has reduced by half, add the sugar and salt. Allow cooking for 5 minutes more. Pour the tomato puree into the stock in the pot. Repeat the puree process until all of the tomatoes are in the pot. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the desired consistency is reached. Turn off the sauce and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve. Adjust the seasoning. (This means salt and pepper). Now the sauce is ready for use. Or to be made into a small sauce.
Small Sauce- a sauce that is derived from a leading sauce, but that has its own distinct preparation and therefore, name.
The richest of the leading sauces is also the trickiest to make. With a little practice, this sauce can serve a chef well, and can turn ordinary preparations into exquisite dishes! As with any culinary task, starting with high-quality ingredients gets you more than halfway to success. Farm fresh eggs and high-quality butter are the two most important ingredients. Any chef who takes the task of cooking seriously should form a strong relationship with their egg farmer and dairy if possible.
There are two pitfalls to consider when undertaking the task of preparing Hollandaise. First, when cooking the egg yolks, the chef must take care to pasteurize them properly with heat, without overcooking them. If they become overcooked, you end up with scrambled egg yolks. Constant agitation of the yolks while cooking is of utmost importance. The second mistake that chefs often make, is that when whisking in the melted butter to form emulsification, the sauce separates (breaks). This can be frustrating after all of the time and money has been spent to carefully assemble the ingredients. Pouring the butter into the egg yolks very slowly- as in a few drops at a time is of utmost importance while whisking vigorously to avoid breaking the sauce. If your emulsion does break, you can usually revive it by adding boiling water or ice water a drop at a time until it comes back together. This sauce should be used shortly after making it, as it does not hold well.
Yield: 1-1/2 cup
4 egg yolks
6 oz. melted butter- warm but not too hot!
1 lemon juiced
1 t cold water
2 dash of Tabasco sauce
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Ratio: for scale-up: 1 egg yolk per 1-1/2 oz. of butter.
Procedure: Place egg yolks in a medium-size stainless steel mixing bowl. Add water and mix with a whisk over a double boiler until yolks are cooked but still smooth. This requires constant whisking to avoid overcooking the eggs. Once egg yolks are cooked, place the bowl on a kitchen towel to keep it in place. Pour in the melted butter very slowly while whisking continuously to avoid breaking the sauce. This technique is called emulsification- bringing eggs and fat together to create a smooth, stable mixture. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Finish with a dash of Tabasco sauce. Serve immediately or keep warm. Thin with water a drop at a time if necessary.
Of all of the leading sauces, Bechamel is probably the least used in modern cooking as cream sauces are considered less healthy, and too bulky for modern palettes. However, many of the regional cuisines- the South in particular, utilizes cream gravies and also use them in preparations such as macaroni and cheese. Nevertheless, understanding how to prepare a high-quality Béchamel sauce is of utmost importance to a well-versed chef.
Yield: 2 quarts
4 oz. butter
4 oz all-purpose flour
½ gallon whole milk
1 small onion- peeled and cut in half
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
Procedure: In a thick-bottomed saucepan, place the milk, onion, bay leaves and peppercorns on a medium heat on the stove. Bring just to a quick simmer – this step is called scalding. Turn the heat off and let the scalded milk infusion set while preparing the roux.
Roux- a mixture of fat and flour, usually at a ratio of 50/50, that is slowly cooked and used to thicken a sauce.
In a separate saucepan, place the butter over a medium heat to melt. Add the flour into the melted butter, whisking away any lumps. Cook gently over medium heat, whisking constantly to prevent the roux from browning. You want to release the starch in the flour without having it take on any color. This takes approximately 5 minutes. Strain the milk mixture through a china cap into the roux while whisking rapidly to prevent lumping. Once the sauce reaches about 190 degrees f. it will thicken. Remember that water boils at 212 degrees f. so you do not want to boil a cream sauce. Once you are comfortable that the Béchamel has reached its full thickness, turn the heat down to very low, and allow the sauce to develop its shine. The flour in the sauce must be fully cooked to achieve this, which takes about ten minutes after the heat has been turned down. Whisk the sauce occasionally during this process to prevent sticking to the pot and to remove any lumps that have formed. When finished, this sauce can be kept warm in a water bath (bain marie) for service. A few small pieces of butter stirred into the resting sauce will prevent a skin from forming on top.
While not one of Escoffier's five warm mother sauces, Beurre blanc deserves its place here on the list for much of the same reason as Hollandaise. Its versatility, as well as its rich, creamy flavor, make it worthy of leading sauce status in my opinion.
Yield: 3/4 cup
2 T of minced shallot or onion
1/3 cup white vinegar
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 pound of good quality butter – cut into ½ inch diced pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small sauté or saucepan, place the minced shallots and vinegar. Place on the stove with medium-high heat. Reduce the vinegar/ shallot mixture until the vinegar is nearly gone. Immediately pour in the cream, and bring to a boil. After about one minute of a rolling boil, the cream will be slightly thicker from reduction. While the cream is still boiling, whisk in the butter pieces a few at a time. Once half of the butter is used, remove the sauce from the heat, and continue whisking in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Veloute' is really just a fancy French word for gravy. That being said, your care in preparing Veloute should be the same as for any leading sauce. For if you want to produce quality small sauces from them, high-quality ingredients must be utilized. You should note that generally, Veloute refers to a sauce that is derived from a lighter stock such as Chicken, Small Game or Fish Fumet.
Yield: 2 quarts
3 quarts stock
1/4 pound butter
1/4 pound all-purpose flour
Melt the butter over medium heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and whisk well. Cook this roux slowly, while stirring well to dissolve any lumps. Care should be taken to not brown the roux beyond a pale tan color. Pour in the stock and turn up the heat. Whisk gently until the sauce thickens and simmers. Turn down the heat to a slow simmer, and reduce by 1/3 volume. With a ladle, skim off any scum that forms on top of the sauce during the reduction process. Strain the sauce into a bain-marie and stir in a small amount of butter to prevent a skin from forming on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Espagnole or Brown Sauce (gravy) is one of the more useful preparations in the chef’s repertoire. Most roasted meats are served with an accompanying small sauce that is derived from Espagnole. I will give recipes for some of these small sauces later in this guide. Note that if you read the guide on How To Cook….Stocks! -this is the base that Demi-Glace is started with as well.
Yield: 2 quarts
2 pounds of mirepoix
½ pound good quality butter
½ pound all-purpose flour
½ cup of tomato paste
1 gallon of beef/veal or large game stock
Procedure: In a thick-bottomed stockpot, place the mirepoix and butter. Cook on medium-low heat until the vegetables caramelize in the bottom of the pot. Add the flour to the mixture and stir constantly until the flour is slightly browned. Add the tomato paste to the mirepoix and while stirring regularly, allow the tomato paste to caramelize as well. Pour in the beef/veal or large game stock. Whisk well to incorporate the mirepoix mixture. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer, and reduce by ½. During this reduction process, a skum will form on top of the sauce. Using a ladle, remove the skum and discard. Be careful to only remove the skum, and not the precious sauce just underneath it. Strain into a bain-marie for use as is or as a leading sauce for your small sauce preparation. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in a small amount of butter to prevent a skin from forming on top of the sauce.
Now that I have given you recipes and techniques for the leading sauces, let us delve deeper into some serious sauce making! Small sauces are where your creativity comes into play. With knowledge of your desired dish in mind, we begin to add “garnishes” to the leading sauces to customize them for use in those dishes. For example, say I want to sauté a very fresh piece of halibut and serve it with rice pilaf and steamed vegetables. My consideration when deciding on an accompanying sauce would be based on what would best complement those 3 components. Since the vegetables are steamed, and the rice is prepared with little or no fat, and the halibut is cooked in a small amount of fat, I can safely serve a sauce that is rich in butter with this dish. So I might choose a Hollandaise or Beurre Blanc as one of my leading sauces. Either of these sauces can be garnished with fresh dill, chervil, tarragon, or parsley. I can also add Dijon, Sriracha, Harissa, or other condiments. Once I add the garnish, a small sauce has been achieved. I might even name the sauce, either based on a traditional recipe name or based on the garnish used. I try not to get hung up too much on traditional small sauce names unless I want to express that I have not deviated from the classic recipe, or if the name of the sauce is a common name that my patrons will recognize. For example, I would differentiate between “Tarragon Hollandaise”, and “Béarnaise Sauce” in my description due to the fact that a great many people actually know what a Béarnaise is. If I were going to call my sauce Béarnaise, I would prepare it traditionally by reducing vinegar, shallots and black pepper, adding this reduction into a freshly made Hollandaise and finishing with chopped fresh tarragon. To name my small sauce Choron, I would add chopped fresh tomato concasser to the Béarnaise. Often when chefs utilize traditional names for small sauces, they do so to demonstrate their culinary acumen. One pet peeve of mine is that when a chef calls a small sauce by its traditional classic name, but few or none of the crucial elements are present in the sauce. This is unprofessional and only makes the chef appear untrained in my eyes. That is not to say that license cannot be taken when naming a small sauce, I do this all of the time. But if I take such license, I make damn sure that I cover my bases as far as the garnish is concerned. For example, I may make a Béarnaise with raspberry vinegar instead of the traditional white vinegar. I would call this preparation “Raspberry Béarnaise” and as long as the sauce contained, shallots, black pepper, tarragon, and Hollandaise I would be covered. However, I can not forgive a cook who opens a package of “Béarnaise Sauce Mix” and stirs in pre made raspberry sauce from the dessert station and tries to call it “Raspberry Béarnaise”. Fraud alert! Go back to your paper route you carpetbagger!
The following are recipes for small sauces made from each of the leading sauces. By no means could I ever hope to assemble a complete guide to small sauces, for what should be obvious reasons. So I am giving recipes for better known small sauces to help you gain knowledge in their preparation. Using my example above, feel free to create your own variations. These should be based on your understanding of how to match the cooking method with sauce characteristics. The goal should be to always consider the diner’s palette when pairing sauce with a dish. A well-prepared meal should leave the diner satisfied, without feeling as if they consumed too much of the same ingredient, such as fat, salt, sugar, spices or texture. A great cook always strives for BALANCE.
Using the Leading Sauce recipe given for Hollandaise:
Béarnaise- prepare a reduction of ½ cup white vinegar, 2 T. minced (petit brunoise) shallots,
½ t. cracked black peppercorns. The vinegar should be reduced to 1 T. Stir this reduction into your Hollandaise and add: 1 T. of finely chopped fresh tarragon.
Sauce Choron- to Béarnaise, add ¼ cup of tomato concasser (peeled, deseeded, finely chopped fresh tomato)
Brown Butter Hollandaise- Prepare the butter quantity for the Hollandaise recipe by browning it slowly over low heat until it turns dark brown but not burnt. (This is known as Beurre Noisette in French – which literally translates to “hazelnut butter” due to the nutty characteristic imparted by the browning process) Follow the recipe for Hollandaise Sauce using brown butter.
Glacage- prepare equal quantities of Hollandaise, Veloute, and whipped cream. Fold these three together in a stainless mixing bowl. Spread this mixture over top of your entrée and place it under a broiler until it turns golden brown. Serve at once.
Using the Leading Sauce recipe given for Tomato Sauce:
Curried Tomato Sauce- Add ½ cup of sugar, 2 T. of good quality curry powder, and ½ cup of chopped golden raisins.
Chasseur (Hunters Sauce)- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Put 2 oz. of good quality butter in the pan to melt. Add ½ pound of slivered wild or domestic mushrooms. Add ½ pound of small diced (brunoise) onion and ½ pound of brunoise carrots. Let cook until the vegetables caramelize. Remove the vegetables. While the pan is still hot, add ¼ pound of bacon lardons. Cook until they start to brown slightly. Add the vegetables back into the pot and stir well. Add 1 cup of dry white wine. Let cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add 3 cups of Tomato Sauce and 1 quart of Demi-Glace. Bring to a simmer, and cook slowly for 1 hour. Finish with a touch of dry sherry and adjust seasoning. If you have Wild Game Glace de Viande, add 2 tablespoons of it to finish the sauce.
Sauce for Stuffed Peppers or Cabbage- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add ¼ cup of Extra virgin olive oil. Add 1 pound each of brunoise of onion and carrot. Cook until vegetables are browned, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of red wine vinegar. Continue to cook until vegetables start to caramelize with the sugar. Add 3 cups of beef stock and reduce by half. Add 2 quarts of Tomato Sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning and use to cover stuffed vegetables in a roasting pan. Cover and bake the stuffed vegetables until done.
Bolognese sauce- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Put ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, and then add 1 pound of ground pork, and ½ pound of slivered bacon. Cook meats until they brown slightly. Add ½ pound of finely minced (petit brunoise) onion, and 6 cloves of slivered garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add 2 cups of rich dry red wine. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, and add 3 cups of beef or large game stock. Add 3 quarts of Tomato Sauce. Bring to a simmer, and reduce by ½. Adjust seasoning, and serve over pasta.
Using the Leading Sauce recipe given for Béchamel:
Sauce Mornay- To 1 quart of Béchamel, add 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese and ½ cup of grated Parmesan. This sauce, when mixed with vegetables, mushrooms or chicken makes a delicious filling for puff pastry turnovers or pot pies.
Bercy sauce- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 oz. of good quality butter to melt. Add ¼ pound of a petit brunoise of shallots or onion. Cook until translucent, and add 1 cup of dry white wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of very high quality of Fish Fumet. Reduce by half on fast simmer. Add 2 sturdy sprigs of fresh thyme. Add 1 quart of Béchamel and turn down to a very slow simmer. When consistency desired is reached, adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, or place in a bain-marie for service. Stir in a small amount of butter gently, to keep a skin from forming on top.
Country Gravy- The technique for Bechamel is followed in this recipe. However, before preparing the roux, place the butter into the thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, and add either ½ pound of pork breakfast sausage or ½ pound of slivered bacon into the pan to brown. Break up the breakfast sausage with a whisk while browning. Once the meat is fully cooked, add 6 oz. of all-purpose flour into the meat and fat to form the roux. Stir with a whisk while cooking the roux to prevent further browning. Strain the scalded milk into the roux, and proceed as for Béchamel. Adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper. Add 2 T. of Louisiana hot sauce, and 1 t. poultry seasoning. Serve over fresh baked biscuits or toast.
Macaroni and Cheese- Cook 2 pounds of elbow macaroni, drain and set aside. To the recipe for Béchamel, while it is hot, add 1 pound of diced sharp cheddar, 1 pound of diced gruyere, and 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheeses. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheese sauce with the cooked elbow macaroni. Pour into a baking dish that has been coated with butter and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the top with additional breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees f. and serve.
Using the Leading Sauce recipe given for Espagnole:
Port Wine Sauce- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 oz. of high-quality butter to melt. Add 1 cup of a petit brunoise of shallots or onion, and cook until translucent. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and ½ cup of red wine vinegar. Reduce this until sugar begins to caramelize (This is called a Gastrique). Immediately pour in 2 cups of port wine, and cook on medium-high heat until reduced by ½. Add 1 quart of Espagnole Sauce, and bring to a simmer. Cook slowly for 20 minutes. Finish sauce with 2 T. of Glace de Viande, and a small quantity of butter for shine. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Meatloaf or Roast Beef Gravy- Proceed with your favorite recipe for Meatloaf or Roast Beef. The meats should be roasted in the oven in a roasting pan with a Brunoise (medium dice) of Mirepoix (2 parts onion, one part carrot, one part celery). After the roast has rested (more on this step in my guide to Meat Cookery) for twenty minutes, remove it to a serving platter, and keep warm. Now place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. I usually use two burners for this step due to the larger size of the roasting pan. Immediately pour in 1 quart of high-quality beef/ veal or large game stock. Bring to a simmer and with a large metal spoon, scrape the pan gently to incorporate the caramelized bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. This is known as “deglazing the pan”. Once all of the bits are released into the stock, turn off the pan and pour the deglazing liquid and veggies into a saucepan that contains 2 quarts of Espagnole Sauce. Stir well over medium heat, and reduce to desired consistency. You can either strain the sauce for a rich smooth gravy, or for a more rustic preparation, leave the sauce unstrained and serve. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Madeira Sauce- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 oz. of high-quality butter to melt. Add 1 cup of a petit brunoise of shallots or onion, and cook until translucent. Add 2 cups of Madeira to the pan, and cook over medium heat to reduce by ½. Add 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme to the reduction. Add 1 quart of Espagnole Sauce to the pan, and gently bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes at a slow simmer. Strain the sauce into a bain-marie, add 2 T. of Glace de Viande, and a small quantity of butter to shine the sauce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Note: sliced wild or domestic mushrooms can be sautéed in butter, deglazed with dry sherry or Madeira, and added to this sauce as a garnish if desired.
Red Wine Bordelaise- Place a thick-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add 2 oz. of high-quality butter to melt. Add 1 cup each of petit brunoise of shallots or onion, carrots, celery, and beef or game. Cook slowly until this mixture caramelizes slightly and begins to adhere to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with 3 cups of dry red wine, and then slowly reduce by ½. Add 2 quarts of Espagnole Sauce to the reduction, and bring to a slow simmer. Add 2 bay leaves, and 1 cup of finely chopped clean leeks. When desired consistency is reached – about 1 hour, add 1 cup of a petit brunoise of cooked beef marrow. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes and adjust seasoning. Pour into a bain-marie, and add a small quantity of high-quality butter to shine.
Using the Leading Sauce recipe given for Veloute:
Dijon Veloute- Place 2 T. of dry mustard seeds and 2 cups of dry white wine with 3 sprigs of fresh thyme into a saucepan. Reduce by ½ over medium heat. Add one quart of chicken or small game Veloute, and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, and stir in 2 T. of Dijon and then pour into a bain-marie. Add a small quantity of high-quality butter to shine.
Pot Pie Filling- In a large thick-bottomed saucepan, add ½ cup of butter to melt. Add 1 pound each of medium diced (Macédoine) carrot, onion, celery, and potato. Cook gently until onions become translucent. Add 1 quart of good quality stock, the variety of which should coincide with the protein used for the pot pie. Add diced protein- (cooked beef, chicken, rabbit, or raw fish) and reduce the mixture gently until most of the liquid has disappeared. Note: If you intend to use fish or seafood for your pot pie, do not add until the last five minutes of this step. This will prevent the fish from becoming overcooked. Remove the mixture to a large stainless bowl and add 2 quarts of thick Veloute. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Fresh herbs such as finely chopped thyme, sage, parsley, or in the case of chicken and rabbit- tarragon, and in the case of seafood- fennel or dill may be added at this time. Place an even amount of the mixture into oven-safe dishes and top with puff pastry or biscuit dough. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees f. for 20- 30 minutes until the top pastry is browned and fully cooked. Serve immediately.
Saffron Veloute- The addition of saffron to a chicken, small game, or fish Veloute is a nice way to add vibrant orange color and a mild earthy flavor to Mediterranean dishes such as bouillabaisse and paella.
Newberg Sauce- Since the common usage of this sauce is with seafood, a shellfish Veloute, or fish Veloute is recommended. In a sauté pan, melt 2 oz. of high-quality butter. Add 2 cups of sliced domestic or lobster mushrooms. Add 1 cup of a brunoise of shallot or onion. Saute on medium-high heat until vegetables are cooked well. Add 2 T. of tomato paste, and 2 cups of raw lobster meat (size is determined by your preference). Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry sherry. Light the sherry with a match to flambé and cook off the alcohol. Add ½ cup of white wine and cook on high heat for 3 minutes. Add 1 quart of shellfish or fish veloute and bring to a slight simmer. Add shrimp or diced fish fillet (or both!), ½ cup of tomato concasser, ¼ cup of cream, and 1 T. of finely chopped tarragon. Adjust seasoning, cook until fish is just done, and serve over rice pilaf.
Fricassee- In a sauté pan, place 2 oz. of high-quality butter to melt over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups of a Macédoine (diced) of Mirepoix and mushrooms. Saute the vegetables over medium-high heat until they become browned on the edges. Add ½ cup of dry sherry, and 1 cup of dry white wine. Continue to cook on medium-high heat until the alcohol is cooked off- about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and add 1 pound of your protein- chicken, rabbit, squirrel, fish or shellfish. These can be bone-in or bone-out, depending upon your preference. However, if you are using bone-in cuts of meat, they should be coated in flour and sautéed in a separate sauté pan in butter until browned. Deglaze the sauté pan that you brown your meats in with ½ cup of white wine, and add to your stew. Add 1 quart of a Veloute that compliments your choice of protein, and ½ cup of heavy cream. Bring to a simmer, and cook until your protein is fully cooked. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and fresh chopped herbs if desired. Serve with rice pilaf.
Using the Leading Sauce recipe given for Beurre Blanc:
Vinegar variations- One way to customize your Beurre Blanc, is to try a variety of vinegar that you make the reduction with. Some good choices are raspberry vinegar, balsamic, sherry vinegar, white or red wine vinegar, homemade herb-infused vinegar, etc. Follow the recipe exactly the same, but with your choice of vinegar as a substitute for white vinegar.
Vin Blanc- A Vin Blanc is made exactly the same as Beurre Blanc, except dry white wine is used in place of the vinegar in the recipe.
Vin Rouge- Same recipe as for Vin Blanc, with dry red wine used in place of the white wine.
Now that I have given recipes for leading warm sauces and small sauces derived from them, I would like to add a few bonus recipes from my repertoire. These are stand-alone recipes that can be made without the use of leading sauces. I am including them in this guide as a thank you to all of my fantastic patrons who have requested them year after year during the course of my career as a chef.
Jamaican Jerk Sauce and Marinade-
Yield: 2 quarts
1 pound fresh red or yellow habanero peppers- de-stemmed
1 pound of slivered onions or scallions
1 quart of Tamari Soy Sauce
1 small can of crushed pineapple in juice
2 cups brown sugar 2 T. ground allspice
2 T. ground black pepper
1 bunch of fresh thyme (about 1 ounce)
Procedure: Place all ingredients into a small stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the bunch of thyme and set aside. Puree the remaining ingredients in a blender or with a submersible blending wand. Add the bunch of thyme back in to the sauce. Place in quart containers. Refrigerate until ready to use. Stores well indefinitely.
Shiitake- Soy Butter-
Yield: 2 cups
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 oz. butter
¼ cup slivered onion or shallots
1 oz. Tamari Soy Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Procedure: Place a small sauce pan or sauté pan on medium heat. Add the butter to melt. Add the shallots and sliced shiitake mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables brown slightly and are soft. Add the Tamari and stir to let vegetables absorb well. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce to desired consistency. If the sauce reduces too much, add a touch of water to rejuvenate it. This sauce is delicious on sautéed or grilled fish. Serve with rice.
Balsamic- Caper Reduction- This is a quick pan sauce reduction that is as versatile as it is delicious. To make, simply place 2 oz. of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 T. petit brunoise of shallots, and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 oz. of good quality Balsamic vinegar, and 2 T. of capers. Reduce slightly and serve. If the sauce becomes broken, while it is still on the heat, add a few drops of water. This will re-emulsify the sauce. Serve with sautéed fish fillets such as Atlantic Cod, Salmon, or Tilapia. Works well with grilled seafood such as Swordfish and Yellowfin Tuna.
Commercial Condiment Sauces
There are innumerable choices of commercial sauces available at the grocer. A walk down the condiment aisle reveals literally thousands of choices. A few have achieved legendary status and are considered must-haves for the home larder. Some of my favorites are Tabasco, Sriracha (Huy Fong), Pikapeppa, Franks Red Hot, Heinz Ketchup, Grey Poupon, Grace, Mae Ploy, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire, Guldens Brown and French's yellow mustard, Valentina, Lizano, and of course my own contribution-
There are too many varieties to list them all here, so I am providing some fun links to provide you with the opportunity to explore and experiment on your own. There is nothing I enjoy more than finding a new sauce to add to my table.
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