Once in awhile I like to go back to classical French cuisine. In the canon, my favorite are the sauces. Auguste Escoffier, the chef who in the early 20th century popularized French cooking, is credited with categorizing the “mother sauces.” You know of them: espagnole, tomato, béchamel, hollandaise, et al. Among them is velouté sauce which, despite its fancy name, is the easiest to prepare. Velouté sauce is simply broth thickened with flour, butter and stock. Velouté is the French word for “velvety”; and this sauce renders a creamy, delicious miracle that goes well with streamed or pan broiled fish, or even poultry. It can also work as a base sauce that you can enhance by adding other ingredients such as herbs, wine, shallots, or meat drippings and make it into a gravy. You are only limited by your imagination. Prepare this beauty, and witness the amazing results.
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Salt to taste
A few grains of peeper
1 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1/3 cup cream
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Take care not to let it turn brown or burn. Add flour, salt, pepper and blend well with a wire whisk.
2. Add chicken stock slowly, stirring constantly to make sure it’s free of lumps. Bring to a boil, add cream, reduce heat, stirring constantly to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, to desired consistency. The sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it’s too thick, whisk in some more of the broth. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
3. Use immediately, or keep it covered in a warm bowl until ready to use.
Yield: About 1 cup.