If you’ve made gravy, or stew before, a roux was most likely your road to thickening. It is also a major player in our next two mothers sauces. That’s four if you are counting. I am saving sauce tomate for last. It will get its own little post. After all she is the crimson princess.
A roux is equal parts (by weight) fat (butter, oil, animal fats) to equal parts bread flour, cooked to the desired color. A good roux is stiff, not runny. There are three types of roux: white, blond, and brown. Remember, the darker your roux, the less thickening power it has. A roux is good to use in sauces that require medium to long cooking times, since you will need to cook long enough to rid your sauce of the raw flour taste. Other thickening agents are: egg yolk, cornstarch, arrowroot, vegetable purees, bread crumbs, and beurre manie. A beurre manie is equal parts (by weight) fat and flour that are uncooked. A beurre manie is used for quick thickening at the end of cooking to finish a sauce. You can keep this mixture at room temperature, to have on hand when needed. Another way to thicken is to make a slurry, which is a starch (cornstarch, arrowroot, corn, potato, or rice flour), mixed with cold water. Starches are less stable than a roux, so it can lose its thickening ability if added to an acidic sauce, or cooked too long.
roux<bechamel and veloute<small sauces
2 oz. butter
2 oz. flour
Melt butter over medium heat.
Once foamy, add flour all at once.
Stir well, and allow to cook at least 1 minute.
For roux blond, continue cooking until it begins to color.
For roux brun, continue cooking until darker color is achieved.
* Always add cold into hot, or hot into cold. Cold stock into hot roux, or hot stock into cooled roux. This will help prevent lumping, and give you a smoother sauce.
chicken, or veal stock, or fish fumet
1. Make a roux blanc (see above), and allow it to cool.
2. Heat the chicken stock.
3. Pour hot stock into cool roux.
4. Whisk until roux has dissolved and the mixtures begin to thicken.
5. Add bouquet garni, and allow to come to a low boil.
6. Skim the scum!
7. Leave to simmer until thickened.
8. Remove bouquet garni, strain through a fine sieve, or chinois.
9. The veloute should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Here are some small sauces you can get from veloute: poulette, Bercy, curry, Normandy, Venetian, and Hungarian.
8oz. clarified butter
8oz. bread flour
1 gallon of milk
1 bay leaf
1 whole small onion, peeled
1 whole clove
1. Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
2. Make a white roux (see above), and allow to cool slightly.
3. Gradually add the milk to the roux, beating constantly.
4. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer.
5. Stick the bay leaf to the onion with the clove. Simmer at least 15 minutes, if possible 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally.
6. Adjust consistency with more hot milk, if necessary.
7. Season lightly. Spice should not dominate.
Here are some small sauces you can get from bechamel: Mornay sauce, cheese sauce, soubise sauce, and mustard sauce.