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Meet the 'mother sauces'

With the following five sauces, you can create dozen of variations; let imagination be your guide:

BASIC BROWN SAUCE

1 veal shank

2 veal knuckle bones

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons tomato paste, divided

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, cut in half

1 garlic bulb, cut in half

2 celery ribs, cut in chunks

2 carrots, cut in chunks

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bottle dry red wine

1 quart water

1 quart beef broth, low sodium

Bouquet Garni, (thyme, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns)

Place the veal shank and knucklebones in a roasting pan, season withsalt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a preheated350-degree oven for 45 minutes. When the veal pieces are brown, brushthem with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and season again. Raise the oventemperature to 450 degrees and return the pan to the oven for 15 moreminutes.

Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Saute the mirepoixvegetables and thyme in the butter to coat, then stir in the remainingtomato paste and continue cooking until the vegetables are caramelized.Pour in the red wine to deglaze, stir. Transfer the browned bones to thestockpot. Whisk in the water and broth. Add the bouquet garni and bringthe sauce to a boil.

Simmer gently for about 3 hours, skimming periodically. Strain the saucethrough cheesecloth or a chinois (China cap) to remove the bones andvegetable solids. Continue to cook for 1 hour more, skimming any foamthat rises to the top, until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups and nicelythickened. Taste for strength and seasoning. May whisk in a pat ofsoftened butter to finish the sauce.

Serve with meats or poultry.

— FOOD NETWORK KITCHENS

VELOUTE SAUCE

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken stock

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour andcook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Whisk untilsmooth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil andreduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat andserve.

— FROM EMERIL LAGASSE

BECHAMEL SAUCE

5 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted.Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until themixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Addthe hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whiskingcontinuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes,stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg,and set aside until ready to use.

— FROM MARIO BATALI

TOMATO SAUCE

20 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup finely diced onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves

1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves

1 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In 2 pans (13-inches by 9-inches) place tomato halves cut side up.Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs. Baketomatoes for 2 hours. Check the tomatoes after 1 hour and turn down theheat if they seem to be cooking too quickly.

Then turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. Removefrom the oven and process tomatoes through a food mill on medium dyesetting over a small saucepan. Discard skins. Add white wine, bring to aboil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.— FROM ALTON BROWN

MAYONNAISE

2 egg yolks*

2 tablespoons mustard

Dash salt and pepper

Squirt of lemon juice

1 to 1-1/2 cups oil

Put ingredients in blender, and blend slowly, adding oil until you havedesired consistency.

*Raw egg warning: Caution is suggested with regard to consuming raw andlightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or otherfood-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use onlyfresh, properly refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intactshells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. Or,buy pasteurized eggs.

-- FROM PAULA DEEN

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