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Sauces & Stocks

Ye Olde Roadkill Inn     Index

What would a Thanksgiving dinner be without gravy, which is a sauce. Actually it's a velouté where, in many cases, flour, cornstarch or arrow root is substituted for the roux as the thickening agent. Sauces and stocks are the soul of French culinary cuisine, indeed, any cuisine. What follows below are but a few of the more popular sauces out of the hundreds that have been created. The first to check out is béchamel, the grandmother of the veloutés. It is the basis upon which many foundation sauces have evolved over the years.


1 teaspoon chopped shallots 1 teaspoon tarragon, minced
1 small tarragon sprig, chopped ¼ pound plus 4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 peppercorns Pinch of Cayenne
5 egg yolks Pinch of salt
¼ cup tarragon vinegar

Simmer the shallots, tarragon sprig, peppercorns and salt in vinegar until the vinegar has been reduced by two thirds. Cool to lukewarm. Add the egg yolks and beat briskly with a wire whisk. Place over low heat and gradually add the butter. Whisk until the sauce thickens, then remove from range and strain. Season with Cayenne and stir in the minced tarragon. Return to Choron sauce.


If there is one sauce that must be learned it is béchamel. It is the foundation of French culinary cuisine. Actually, it's a velouté using milk instead of stock. The beginning of a velouté is the roux. Once the roux has been prepared any number of liquids can be added to create a sauce: milk, chicken stock, brown stock, white stock, fish stock, etc.

Roux-based sauces produce reduction sauces similar to those found in star-rated restaurants that use demi-glace or glace de viande. But more on reduction sauces later. In the meantime, knowing how to prepare a roux-based sauce is a must. Return to the top.

Butter Milk
Flour Salt & white pepper to taste

Melt butter in a sauce pan over very low heat, add flour and simmer gently until mixture bubbles and develops a glossy patina. The roux is finished. Slowly add the cold milk a little bit at a time to avoid lumps. Stir constantly. When all the milk is consumed, simmer for at least 20 minutes. Taste and add nutmeg (not a lot), salt and pepper as needed. After all the milk has been added, using a flame disperser will help avoid scorching while the sauce simmers.

For one cup of thick béchamel, use a ratio of three tablespoons flour and two tablespoons butter to one cup of milk. For a medium sauce, two of each to a cup; for a light sauce, one of each.

NOTE: Do not substitute margarine for butter. The results will be a grossly inferior sauce and the sauce will more likely be lumpy. To avoid lumps always add cold milk to a hot roux or hot milk to a cold roux. Want a cream sauce? Substitute either table cream or heavy cream or the milk. Return to dried beef,   chicken croquettes,   deviled crab cakes, Roadkill  Mornay sauce, 'sausage, 'possum,  crab impériale, Roadkill.


Ever wonder how restaurants can turn out excellent, freshly made sauces so easily? Brown stock. This is not really a sauce, it's too thin. It's a foundation used to make many other sauces.

Brown stock is generally reduced to a demi-glace or further to glace de viande. It is also be used to deglaze pans, or is thickened with a roux. Brown stock is time consuming, so make a lot and freeze it for future use.

Once you have brown stock, the door is open to reduction sauces. These are the rich sauces upon which many star-rated restaurants built their reputation. Some reduction sauces begin with a roux, which is another reason it is important to be able to prepare béchamel sauce. In one kind of reduction sauce, Demi-glace is added to the roux to start the sauce, then an equal proportion of cream is added to complete it.

10 pounds bones, 1/3 beef, 1/3 chicken, 1/3 veal, cut into 2-inch pieces 2 bay leaves
4 to 6 carrots washed, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch pieces ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
6 medium onions cut into 1-inch pieces ½ teaspoon peppercorns, cracked
3 large tomatoes cut up 3 celery stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large leek cut in half 5 quarts of water

Place bones in a roasting pan and bake for 1½ hours at 425°. Turn bones after the first 45 minutes. Add onions and carrots and cook for another ½ hour. Using a slotted spoon to leave the fat behind, transfer the bones, onions and carrots to a stock pot. Pour off the remaining fat and transfer the pan to the stove top. Add water and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a metal spoon to dissolve all the dried juices. When all the juices are incorporated in the water, pour it into the stock pot.

Add water to the stock pot and slowly bring it to a simmering boil, uncovered. If the stock is cooked with a hard rolling boil the albumin will not rise to the surface for skimming and the fat will emulsify in the water. The resulting stock will be cloudy, less digestible and more caloric.

After an hour add the remaining vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for at least 10 hours replacing any water that evaporates. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and put into a clean pot. Reduce to 3 quarts. Refrigerate overnight, then remove the fat that has solidified on the top. Put in smaller containers and freeze for future use.

Note: The reason no salt is used is because brown sauce is usually reduced further. The salt would be over powering, when the reduced brown stock finds its way to a sauce. The sauce itself is salted to taste. Do not boil hard until the sauce has been strained and is being reduced. While the bones, vegetables and seasonings are in the pot, do not allow the water to get below about 4 quarts.


Chicken stock is used in so many sauces that it almost has become a kitchen staple. It's nice to be able to get a quart from the freezer when you need it. In a pinch College Inn chicken broth can be used as well as Knorr's chicken bouillon cubes.

4 lbs. chicken, wings, backs, necks etc. Water
1 large onion Bay leaf
2 cloves Handful of parsley
Celery tops 1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 carrots NO SALT

Cover the chicken with water, about four quarts. Bring to a boil in an uncovered stock pot and immediately reduce to a simmer. Skim off any scum that rises. Stick cloves in onion with skin intact( it adds color); add to pot. Throw in celery tops. bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley and carrots. Simmer for four hours. Remove ingredients and strain broth through cheese cloth. Boil the strained stock longer to reduce the volume and enhance the flavor. When cool, skim off excess fat.

Two small frying chickens can be used in place of the chicken parts. Freeze any stock that will not be used immediately.


Simmer 1 cup of chopped tomatoes, which have been skinned and the seeds and tough parts removed, until reduced by half. Add to béarnaise sauce when the Cayenne and minced tarragon are added. Goes well with grilled fish, steak and poached egg.


2 tablespoons cognac 1 tablespoon butter
½ cup cream salt and white pepper to taste

After sautéing a steak or chop, deglaze the skillet with the cognac. Add the cream and stir over medium heat; add butter. Salt and pepper lightly. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. After all the butter is absorbed, serve immediately with steaks or chops. Goes especially well with Venison Backstrap (tenderloin), David.


An impressive sounding name, but quite simple to make. Court-bouillon can be as simple as salted water, or as complicated as anyone cares to make it. What follows is our version that we use for poaching fish. There are no measurements for the ingredients. Use your own judgement; add or delete at your pleasure.

If time permits, boil the bouillon for an hour, then let it cool before using. Regardless, start the fish in room temperature bouillon. If fish is put into boiling bouillon, the flesh will shrink and the cooking time delayed. Save the bouillon for future use by freezing it. It's flavor will be progressively enhanced.

About 3 cups water Cardamom
About ½ cup white wine Coriander seed
About 2 tablespoons lemon juice Bay leaf
Thyme White, black and green pepper corns
Parsley Coarse salt

Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for an hour, then turn off heat and cool to room temperature before using. Return to poached salmon.


This version is used to boil shrimp for shrimp, dipped in butter, Roadkill Inn. It is more aromatic and spicy than the preceding version and should be used wherever the shrimp is the dominant flavor, such as shrimp cocktail.

2 cups water 2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine 2 tablespoons scallion, chopped
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns ¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon white peppercorns ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon coriander seed 1 lemon, sliced
¼ teaspoon dill weed

Bring the bouillon to a simmer and hold at a simmer for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. This should be enough to poach about 16 jumbo shrimp. If not, add enough water to cover the shrimp.



Now it's time to put the brown stock to good use. Demi-glace is one of the things chefs make with brown stock. It enables them to thrown a number of different sauces together on short notice. It has a somewhat impressive name and sounds like it's hard to make. Actually it's not. Simply take brown stock and reduce it by half, strain and refrigerate. When cooled, cut into approximately 1 cup portions, wrap in plastic and freeze.

If the demi-glace does not contain enough gelatin to become solid, pour it into containers and freeze. Return to glace viande


This is a classic sauce that is rarely made anymore. That's a shame because it goes well with game, grilled meats and poultry. It's similar to brown stock.

2½ pounds beef bones 1 large onion, quartered with skin on
2½ pounds veal bones 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 carrots, peeled and quartered ½ cup flour
2 celery stalks with leaves, coarsely chopped 3 quarts water
½ teaspoon thyme 1½ cups tomato purée
1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns ½ cup chopped leeks, well washed
3 bay leaves 3 sprigs parsley

Preheat oven to 425°. Place the bones, onions, carrots and celery in a roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle with flour and bake another 20 minutes.

Transfer all the ingredients to a stock pot. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan and cook over moderate heat. Stir to dissolve all the brown particles on the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the liquid from the roasting pan into the stock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and slowly bring it to a boil. Skim often to remove any fat and scum that rises to the surface. Cook for 4 to 5 hours, adding water as needed to keep the same level. Strain the mixture, then reduce the liquid to 3 quarts or add water to make 3 quarts.

Refrigerate overnight, then remove any fat that has solidified on the surface. Bring back to a rapid boil and reduce by half. Cool to room temperature, put into containers and freeze.

Note: If veal bones are not available, substitute the bones follows: 7½ pounds beef bones and 2½ pounds chicken bones. It won't be quite the same, but it will be close.

FISH STOCK (Fond de Poisson)

After the time consuming job of making brown or white stock, fish stock is a snap. While similar to court bouillon, fish stock is first cooked briefly in butter, then the other ingredients are added. Stewing in butter first is omitted when preparing court bouillon.

2½ pounds fish bones, preferably from flat fish i.e. flounder, fluke, sole, etc. 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced ½ teaspoon thyme
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped 1½ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 leek cleaned and sliced 1½ cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter 1½ cups dry white wine
¼ cup parsley stems 3 quarts water

Fish heads are among the bones, remove the gills and wash the bones under cold water. Otherwise the stock will be bitter.

Place the butter in a large pot and stew the bones until they begin to fall apart. Add the water, onion, celery, parsley stems and leek; stir well. Stew for 4 minutes, then add all the other ingredients and boil on high heat for another 40 minutes. Strain through a sieve and freeze.

The finished stock can be further reduced to a demi-glace to which cream and butter may be added as the basis for a sauce. It also can be thickened with a roux to make a velouté sauce.


This is the power stroke of brown stock. Begin by further reducing demi-glace. When the demi-glace begins to get quite thick, transfer it to a sturdy sauce pot. The next hour determines success or failure. Cook very slowly over low heat because as the sauce thickens, it burns easily. Placing the pot on a griddle helps to spread the heat more evenly, which can be difficult with a gas range.

You are close to completion when the glace darkens and begins to bubble on top. If there is any fat left, it should be skimmed off with a metal spoon. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate after the glace de viande has reached room temperature. When cooled store in the refrigerator in an open container or an unsealed plastic bag.


Generally hollandaise sauce is made with 6 to 7 yolks per pound of butter, but the ratio can be altered in either direction. If the sauce is too high in egg yolks, it will be less likely to separate, but may be too yolky in taste. If it is high in butter, however, it will be very delicate in taste but also very fragile.

This sauce is not rated because it is a foundation sauce like béchamel. Add white wine, shallots and tarragon to hollandaise and it becomes béarnaise. Add tomatoes to the béarnaise and it become choron sauce. These are but a few of the variations. If we were to rate it, it would get four stars.

4 egg yolks Dash cayenne
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 2 tablespoons water Dash of pepper (about ¼ teaspoon)
2 sticks butter (8 ounces) Salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon)

What follows is cooked over direct heat in a saucepan. Hollandaise sauce also can be prepared using a bain-marie or double boiler, which allows more control over the temperature. Unless we're in a rush, that's the method we use.

Place the egg yolks and water in saucepan and beat over low heat for about 5 minutes. The mixture should become hot, but not too close to a boil or the eggs will scramble. If it's not hot enough, however, the mixture will get foamy, increase in volume, without acquiring much in the way of consistency. It will remain too thin and separate into foam and liquid. Make sure you drive the whisk in the corner of the sauce pan where the eggs are more likely to scramble.

When the consistency of the egg yolk mixture is slightly thicker than a loose, runny pudding it is just about cooked. You will notice that between the strokes of the whisk you can see the bottom of the saucepan. This indicates that the mixture is cooked enough. Start adding the butter piece by piece. Keep the sauce on a very low heat during the addition of the butter.

After all the butter has been added, add a dash of cayenne, a dash of pepper and the salt. The sauce should be creamy, smooth and thick enough to coat fish, eggs, vegetables, or any other food.


This is one of the easiest sauces to make. Never the less, it can be screwed up. Do not substitute Real Lemon for a fresh lemon; you won't get the oils from the rind, which gives this sauce its bite.

1 stick butter ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
juice from one lemon salt and white pepper to taste

Cut lemon in half and squeeze out juice. Twist hard to extract the oils from the rind. Melt butter and add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Raise heat and bring butter slowly to a boil, then turn off heat. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and lemon zest.

Serve hot over fish and shellfish. Return to monk fish.


If you have the time, home-made mayonnaise will improve any recipe that calls for mayo. When we're short on time, we use Hellman's almost exclusively with Kraft's being our second choice. Salad dressing is no substitute for mayonnaise. Salad dressing is to mayonnaise what margarine is to butter. Except for those with dietary restrictions, never use the stuff. It has a bitter sweet taste that detracts from any recipe that calls for mayonnaise.

2 egg yolks 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt 1¼ cups oil (preferably equal parts extra virgin olive oil and Canola oil)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Place the yolks, salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl (not aluminum; it will discolor the mayonnaise) and stir with a whisk. Begin drizzling the oil slowly, while beating with the whisk. As the mayonnaise becomes thicker, add the oil a bit faster. The mayonnaise should be a nice spreading consistency.

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