velouté sauce

I'm ramping up to some Thanksgiving recipes, but you should know how to make velouté sauce before we jump in whole hog (or turkey, or timpano, as it may be). It's great on a number of fronts - you can make it as rich as you want, or you can use it to lighten up a bechamel-type sauce while still keeping that lovely creamy smooth mouthfeel intact. You can use it to make a vegan "cream" sauce that substitutes nicely for one that uses butter and cream or milk. You can use it to start a gravy, or thicken a soup that's too watery when you don't want to add a potato or rice or bread. This is one of the building blocks i use a lot when adapting traditional cream or cream-based sauces for people counting calories or dairy.

Some kind of fat: butter or olive oil
White flour
A flavorful liquid: I always use some kind of stock.

Get 1 part fat, 1 part flour ready. If you're not worried about dairy, I like to use butter for its flavor. I've used duck fat or the fat of the meat i was saucing in the past, too. For a vegan sauce, i prefer olive oil.

Warm the fat over medium heat; whisk in the flour. Lower the heat. Cook for at least 10 minutes - you're replacing the raw flour taste with a mildly nutty one. Keep the heat LOW - you want to cook for 10 minutes without turning your roux dark. At most, you want it to barely take on some color.

After 10 minutes, start adding your liquid. You can use stock of any persuasion, milk, wine, etc. I generally start with stock, and add cream, milk, vermouth, or soy creamer near the end as a flavoring. Even with just stock, this has a lovely creamy mouth feel and appearance. Keep whisking, and add your liquid slowly. It's better if the liquid is warm or room temperature, but certainly not required. A tablespoon each of fat and flour will take a little more than a cup of liquid to make something of light gravy consistency.

If you add too much liquid, you can raise the heat and simmer the sauce a little. It will reduce a bit and thicken right back up. You can flavor it with herbs, cheese, roasted garlic, etc.

Posted by shock on December 16, 2003 | TrackBack

Not only one of meriko's building blocks, but also one of the French's as well! A very good explaination of the method.

Tradition says you need to "cook out" the sauce (after adding your liquid) long enough so that there is no pasty/gritty mouth taste or feel to the sauce. The claim is a minimum of 30 minutes of simmering is required. Personally, I think you can usually get away with less than this.

Posted by: Poubelle on December 16, 2003 9:28 AM
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