Monday, January 28, 2008

One Sauce base, and three sauces

Sauce Chasseur

Sauce Piquant

Madeira Sauce

Sauce Espagnole is what is commonly known as a “mother sauce”. Almost all of the thousands of French sauces are based on one of five “mother sauces”. This was a very easy version of the Sauce Espagnole. Really I should have started by making the stock myself and all that, but still, this gave me a very good base.

It takes hours to make, but it’s a great thing to try. If you are going to be home one day, make a big batch of this, and when it is done and cooled off, divide it into portions (about 1 cup each), and freeze them. That way when you want a quick mid-week meal, you can defrost the base, add a few things to it, and you’ll have an amazing and fancy sauce that has the benefits of being cooked for hours and hours, but you’ll have it in minutes.

I was so pleased with how well this worked out, that I have vowed to always have some in the freezer. Next time I will even make the stock myself too.

The sauce variations that I tried were:

Sauce Piquant
I loved this one. It’s made with capers and pickles, so it’s very unique. It was easy to make and it tasted fabulous. We used this sauce for cold leftover pork roast, and I think that it works particularly well with cold meat. I will use this sauce again and again. What a great way to dress up leftovers.

Sauce Chasseur
This one had a lot of good stuff in it. It had tomatoes and mushrooms and onions, and all kinds of good flavorings. It was also easy to do, and it was also fabulous. This one goes best with pork or chicken I would think. It is flavorful and lovely and makes a really refreshing change from plain old gravy.

And Madeira Sauce
This one was a bit of a disappointment. There was nothing wrong with it, but it wasn’t outstanding like the other two were. It’s a classic sauce, so there’s a good chance that I just need to find a better recipe for it. Someday I will try this again from another book.

And here are the recipes (they are all from Joy of cooking

Sauce Espagnole
Melt, in a large sauce pan over medium high heat:
8tbsp butter, or ½ cup beef drippings
Add and cook, stirring until the vegetables are caramelized and browned
½ cup finely chopped onions
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped celery
Reduce the heat to medium and add, stirring:
½ cup all purpose flour
Cook, stirring constantly, to make a brown roux, about 10 min. Gradually stir in:
8 cups cold brown beef stock
2 cups drained canned peeled tomatoes
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, including stems
1 bouquet garni
Bring just to a simmer. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally and skimming the fat and any skin that forms on the surface, until the sauce is reduced by half, 2 to 2.5 hours. It should be the consistency of heavy cream, no thicker. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Stir the sauce occasionally as it cools to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate, make into another sauce, or season to taste and use on it’s own.

Sauce Piquant
Melt in a medium saucepan over medium heat:
1tbsp butter, preferably unsalted
Add and cook, stirring till lightly browned:
2tbsp minced shallots
stir in and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is almost evaporated:
2tbsp dry white wine
2tbsp white wine vinegar
stir in and simmer uncovered for 10 min:
1 cup Espagnole sauce
Just before serving, stir in:
1tbsp chopped fresh parsley or a mixture of fresh parsley, tarragon, and chervil
1tbsp minced cornichons or sour gherkins
1tbsp chopped drained capers (optional)
salt and ground pepper to taste

Sauce Chasseur
Melt in a medium saucepan over medium heat:
2tbsp butter, preferably unsalted
Add and cook, stirring until softened:
2tbp minced shallots or onions
Add and cook, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 min:
1 cup sliced mushrooms
add and simmer uncovered, until cooked down by half:
¼ cup dry white wine
2tbsp brandy
Add and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 min:
1 cup sauce espagnole
½ cup tomato puree (not the same as British Tomato puree, closer to chopped tomatoes)
Salt and ground Black pepper to taste
Just before serving, stir in:
1tbsp minced fresh parsley
1tbsp minced fresh chervil or tarragon (optional)
1 to 2 tbsp butter, softened (optional)

Madeira Sauce
Combine in a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, and simmer uncovered, until cooked down to 1 cup:
1 cup sauce Espagnole
¼ cup Madeira
1tsp meat glaze (optional)
Strain through a fine mesh sieve and stir in:
1/3 cup Madeira, dry sherry, or port
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Just befor serving, whisk in:
1tbsp butter, preferably unsalted, softened (optional)


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