Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mother Sauces from 1975 part 1

Being the burgeoning culinarian that I am, I thought it'd be important to know the basics. I mean, knife skills, meat prep, sauces... all important. And best thing about it is that once you learn a skill the proper way, you can basically tweak it any way you want to make it your own. Wish I'd done that!


Anyway, so boyfriend's lab mate, Vaibhav, loves good food. He also loves to cook, but wants to learn to cook things better and do other things better too. I can dig that. So we decided to make the thing I considered the holy grail : the French MOTHA SAUCES. 








Now, boyfriend and I developed an unhealthy obsession with truffle oil on Valentine's day, when we did a triathlon and then made the most unhealthy truffled mac and cheese on the face of the planet. It was my first time making a beschamel, and it was memorable to say the least. We ate it out of the baking pan, and got drunk on special beer, and it was awesome. Triathlon in the morning cancels out all bad eating for the rest of the.... week, right?


I digress. So mother sauces. Traditionally, wikipedia tells me there are 4. Or 5. 


Beschamel, based on milk, thickened with a white roux
Espagnole, based on brown stock, thickened with a brown roux
Veloute, based on a white stock, thickened with a blonde roux
Allemande, based on veloute, is thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream


and we added mayonnaise, because it's awesome and easy.


Oh, and we made fresh baked bread. Mmmm.


Espagnole Sauce
Serves about 10 people or so

  • ¾ pint (420 ml) of brown meat stock
  • 1 oz (30 g) of butter
  • 1 oz (30 g) chopped streaky bacon
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 4 tbsp of chopped mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • salt and pepper


  1. Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat gently until it melts.
  2. Add the chopped bacon and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables and continue to gently fry all the ingredients until the vegetables have softened.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and cook the flour mixture (roux) until it turns a dark brown colour. Do not allow it to burn.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the meat stock a little at a time.
  7. Continue to stir the sauce continuously until it thickens and then add the tomato purée, the bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about an hour.
  9. Skim the top of the sauce from time to time.
  10. When the sauce is ready, you should have a thick brown strong-tasting sauce. Strain the sauce into a new pan through a sieve so that only the liquid passes through*
* Evidently I missed this important step, so mine tasted a lot like a mixture of baked bean sauce and Chunky beef stew. You should probably just do it.

Beschamel Sauce
Serves 10 or so

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Quart milk (1% doped with cream, or whole) 
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Handful shredded parmesan
  • 1 Tsp crushed mustard seeds 
Melt butter slowly over low heat. Add in flour, and stir well. Cook, stirring often, until the roux turns slightly darker in color. Pour in milk and bring up to a simmer. Whisk well, until all lumps are gone. We then added the parmesian, crushed mustard and white wine. Season with salt and pepper.

Whew, tired hands. More to come soon!

Photos by Ben : heliotrope.ucsd.edu

1 comment:

reaverblade said...

Yummy times 4! I loved it all. Thought I'd make my comment debut on your blog :) you forgot to include our cupcake endeavor though!