Monday, March 7, 2011

What can You Do with a Roux?

Some time ago, I covered making a roux. Today we're going to look at what we can do with roux, to make sauces.

One of the most important bases in French cooking is the sauce espagnole. This sauce is the basis for many, many other sauces and is one of the five French "mother sauces," sauces that are the starting point in making other sauces. With a stock of sauce espagnole in your refrigerator, you will have the basis for numerous sauces that go with red meat.

2 parts onions
1 part celery
1 part carrot
1 part butter

This is called the mirepoix, and is the basis for a number of French dishes. Simply put all these ingredients in a heavy pan and brown well.

Add: 1 part tomato puree and mix well, cooking until well-reduced. Add 1 part flour and sprinkle over the mirepoix, stirring until it is well-incorporated. Since the flour is used only as a thickening agent, you are free to substitute any kind of flour as the gluten in wheat flour is not vital to this recipe. You should end up with a thick, limp mass.

At this point, you may wish to freeze some of this for later.  Fill a glass jar (the acidity of the tomatoes will eventually eat through plastic) about 7/8ths full and seal.

To continue with the sauce espagnole, add veal or beef stock to thin. Reduce, reduce, reduce until you are left with a thick, intense flavour. Now you can either use this as is, or keep and use as the basis for other French sauces.

Aha! Now you know why I had to stress so much technique: this one recipe has used almost every post I've made so far in my blog. That's why technique is so darned important!

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