That velouté’s one mother

Last week I talked about mother sauces.  Back in the 18-somethings, the man-made-culinary god Auguste Escoffier declared the existence of the five root sauces from which all sauces come.

This week’s special guest is velouté; a simple sauce made from broth and roux, which is flour and fat, cooked to a range of shades, from the blond of Jean Harlow’s tresses, to the burnt sienna of a Crayola crayon. Classic velouté

3 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon flour

2 cups warm chicken stock

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and continue to cook until it’s light blond.Whisking continuously, slowly pour in stock and cook until it thickens and just comes to a boil.  Season, taste, and season again, if needed.  Makes about two cups.

To make a simple, very tasty chicken gravy, add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to the sauce.  You can then serve it on chicken, mashed potatoes, or rice.

In the mood for the easiest chicken pot pie ever?chicken-pot-pieMix the chicken gravy with a couple handfuls of shredded rotisserie chicken.  Stir in a couple cups of frozen mixed vegetables.  Either pour it into a frozen pie crust and cover with another piece of store-bought pie crust, or pour it into 4-6 mugs or crocks and cover with a piece of puff pastry.  Cut a few vents into top crust and brush with an egg wash.  Sprinkle the tops with some kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper and bake at 375 until it is golden brown and bubbly.

Our friend velouté is the base for cream soups.  For a deceptively simple cream of mushroom, heat 2 batches of velouté and some freshly grated nutmeg in a saucepan until barely simmering.  Keep warm.  In a separate skillet, caramelize 24 ounces of cleaned, sliced ‘shrooms, a big shallot that you’ve diced, and a teaspoon of dry thyme.  When the veg are golden amber, add a tablespoon of tomato paste.  Let the paste cook until the color darkens, and then pour in a cup of white wine, and let reduce until the liquid’s almost fully absorbed.Stir your caramelized veg into the velouté.  Pour in about ½ cup of heavy cream.  Check for seasoning and serve.  Serves 4-6.  You can also put this on pasta, and meat, or pour it over a baked potato (a sweet potato is really delicious this way).

You can make velouté vegan by using vegetable stock and replacing butter with coconut oil.  Some of this drenching tofu or tempeh, would be virtuous, but taste luxurious.

Another variation is the addition of lemon zest and a whole head of roasted garlic, which you’ve mashed into a paste.  I’m pretty sure, left to your own devises, you could come up with a few uses.  To my thinking, bathing in it, while possibly alluring, is not an acceptable use.

You can switch out the stock, too.

Get yourself some seafood stock (like shrimp), add the juice and zest of one lemon before you add the roux.  Ladled onto a piece of stuffed flounder, it would gladden Chef Escoffier’s little French heart.

For one of Petey’s favorite foods, make a tetrazzini.

Sautee two pounds of mushrooms.  Then combine the chicken gravy, shredded precooked chicken, the mushrooms, and one pound of cooked egg noodles.  Stir in a bag of frozen peas, and cover with buttered breadcrumbs.  Bake at 375 until hot, browned, and bubbly.

Next week is espagnole.  It’s a velvety beefy sauce.  It’s another sauce which isn’t eaten much in its original form.  Think if it as Spanxx.  It’s the foundation of numerous saucy edifices.Thanks for your time.

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