A good sauce can make or break a good dish.
Paired successfully with main ingredients of the dish shows the ability of the chef to judge & evaluate the flavors, textures of the dish.
There are basic categories of sauces with basic recipes.
These basic recipes can then be embellished with seasonings and thickeners to add texture, flavor & contrast to a dish.
Sauces are easily flavored by the addition of herbs & spices directly or by infusing by the addition of a ‘bouquet garni’ (a bundle of whole fresh herbs tied together & placed in the sauce but later removed).
One may also wrap a bundle in cheesecloth & tie like a teabag and toss into the pot. Makes for a more subtle flavoring.
Classic Bouquet Garni
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3-4 stems parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 leek leaves or a celery stalk split lengthwise.
Classic Sachet D’ Epices
- 3-4 parsley stems
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp peppercorns
These are classic French combinations but you can make up your own, best to keep it simple with only a few different herbs.
Also needed to make sauce is a thickener, usually a roux. A roux is made by melting butter or fat and blending with flour to create a thick paste before adding to the stock, broth or milk.
For brown sauces you may want to make a golden roux by cook the roux a little longer until it becomes golden in color and a little more nutty in flavor.
- Saucepan of adequate size for amount of sauce being made. String cotton or hempCheesecloth (if making ‘bouquet garni’ or sachet)
- Spoons & ladles
Types of Sauces
Brown sauces are made from beef stock or broth, brown mire poix’ ( sautéed & browned carrots, onions, celery & tomato paste) made into a roux, & bouquet garni.May be used as is or as a base for a more finished sauce.
Our recipe for basic Brown SauceFor a quicker version, they can be made by making a roux from 1 oz. of fat & 2 tbsp. of flour. Add some bouillon & 2 tbsp. tomato puree’ or 3 fresh tomatoes. Simmer for at least ½ hr.
White sauces are basically made by juices of the chicken, veal, fish or veggies. Mix with a roux of flour & melted butter. Thin with more broth or stock or with milk or cream as for creamy cheese sauces.
Cook aromatics such as mirepoix of onions, mushrooms & celery in the butter first before making the roux with the flour later.
A generic term to describe any sauce that is based on mainly tomatoes. They may be raw or cooked anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours. Some use olive oil as the fat, whereas others use salt pork or bacon.
Sauces all start with a sauté of veggies in fat adding flour later to make a thick paste. Other elements are added after the slow addition of the white or brown stock or broth. Sauces can usually be made ahead of time & kept warm or cooled & kept in frig for later use.