Thursday, June 30, 2011

Redundant Velvet

Being that I am learning French, I can now tell you that our next mother sauce, the velouté, has a nice translation in the term 'velvety.'  So, when I was thinking up a name to use for the post, I thought I might go with "Velvety Velouté,"  but, I realized that this would literally mean "velvety velvety" - hence the new title.

As with the other sauces, you will do well to have this one in your back pocket.  It whips up in a flash and is easily adapted.  It is of great use when one is in serious need of something to tie the plate together.  For example, my lunch today consisted of some toast, lamb kidneys, and garlic scapes.  Though cooked with plenty of butter, the dish seemed a bit less than it could be. So, a velouté was born and added, with some fresh parsley to counter the gorgeous must of the kidneys to create a dish that really made my day (and would make yours as well). My velouté is really more of a sauce vin rouge, and is a bit on the dark side.

Non-redundant Velouté
- Equal parts Flour and Butter (preferably homemade) for a roux
- A light stock (this can really be anything -obviously homemade-, fish, chicken, veal, pork, a mixture - the only rule is that one ought not use a stock with roasted bones in it - too dark)
- Seasonings
The previous mother sauce was the bechamel, which was a white sauce, made with milk or cream and thickened with a roux.  The velouté is, simply speaking, a non-white sauce, made with stock, and thickened with a roux.

So, as with the other process, use your butter and flour to make a roux.  You know the deal, melt the butter, sprinkle flour on top, stir, and cook lightly.  You can let this one brown just the lightest bit, as it will lend a nice nutty flavor to your sauce.

Stir in your stock, and whisk away, allowing everything to get to know one another.  Kick your heat back too, as too furious a boil will thicken your sauce prematurely, not allowing for any development of flavoring.  Give a taste once things are on the thick side and season as needed. 

This one is also very easy.  A general rule of thumb is to match the stock you use to whatever you are using it on.  So, chicken stock velouté for chicken, fish velouté for fish, and *shudder* some rubbish like chickpea or whatever you vegetarians use for stock for a disgusting vegetarian velouté. 

- Sauce albufera: Add pan drippings, or reduced juices from your meat to the stock.  This will darken things up, hence a different name.
- Sauce allemande: Add a squeeze of lemon, stir, a splash of cream, add some sauce to a couple of egg yolks in a separate dish, then add them back in and cook slowly and lightly for a few.
- Sauce bercy: Add some shallots, white wine, and a turn of lemon to a fish velouté.
- Sauce ravigote: Add a splash of acid, onions, and shallots to a fish velouté (better than the bercy for a very delicate fish)
- Sauce suprême: Add mushroom liquor (water in which one has boiled mushrooms) and cream.

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