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Science of Sauces

January 9, 2011

After making the Hollandaise yesterday and the Velouté today I am beginning to feel like a real chef. These are two  of the five Mother sauces of French cooking.  The original four are Bechmal, Veloute,  Espagnole, and Allemande as defined by the 19th century chef Antonin Carême. Hollondaise became the fifth sauce when it was added by Chef Aguste Escoffier sometime in the early 2oth century. The Garlic cream sauce that I made today used the Velouté sauce as a base. Such a sauce is called a secondary sauce or a small sauce.

  • Béchamel was named after its Louis XIV’s steward Louis de Béchamel. Often called the king of all sauces, it is often referred to as a cream sauce because of its classically white appearance. It is made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux.
  • Velouté, the sauce I made today, is a stock-based white sauce. It can be made from chicken, veal or fish stock. I used Chicken stock and added it to a butter-flour roux until it was a nice thick texture. If you are a novie like me I should point out that chicken stock is different than chicken broth. Stock is made from using the chicken bones with very little meat on them, broth is made from chicken meat. This makes for a thicker almost glutenous liquid as the base of the sauce.
  • Espagnole, or brown sauce, is traditionally made of a rich meat stock, a mixture of browned vegetables , a nicely browned roux, herbs and sometimes tomato paste.
  • Allemande, based on velouté sauce, is thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream.
  • Hollandaise, is a heated emulsion of  egg yolks butter and lemon juice.  I covered that one pretty well yesterday.

It makes me feel like a chef just knowing that there are mother sauces and now I have made two of them.

My impression of the Velouté is that you could replace it with a high quality cream of chicken soup and no one would be the wiser.  This of course led me to the conclusion that hotdish is actually French haute cuisine. You can hear Chef Escoffier turning in his grave (along with my credibility as a real chef hitting the floor) with those last two sentences, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

I am making the Garlic Cream for next weeks Damn Good Entrée, which is Baked Rigatoni. I didn’t spend too much time cooking today, but I did drive all over town looking for ingredients for the Hot Italian sausage that I will be making for this dish. Does anyone know where I can find pork fatback?

Recipe # 15: Velouté Sauce

Recipe #16: Garlic Cream Sauce

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