This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
There are three types of sauces which are essential to good cookery, the most common being white sauce, which is made thin, medium thick, or thick according to one's liking. The second is brown sauce, made with soup stock and often, reinforced by vegetable puree, or sifted vegetable-pulp and juice. The third type consists of a foundation sauce made according to the formula for either white or brown sauce, and further thickened and enriched by egg yolks. Occasionally it is advisable to omit the milk in making a white sauce and substitute water, and an extra amount of butter, as in making drawn butter sauce. Again, a dish may demand a tart sauce when capers or pickled nasturtium seeds may be added to the drawn butter sauce, as for fish or boiled lamb. Sometimes a dish will be greatly enhanced by the addition of a sauce made with chicken- or veal-stock according to the formula of white sauce.
White sauce may be made according to three different methods, although I use but one and find it quicker, and, it the directions are carefully carried out, it combines the advantages of the other two methods. It should never be necessary to strain white sauce. If lumpy, carelessness in the making is the cause. It is a great saving of time to make the sauce without lumps, and without heating the milk in a- separate utensil, as the process is not only shortened, but the time of washing a strainer and a separate saucepan is saved.
The following are the formulas for the three kinds of white sauces, all being made in the same way.
Thin White Sauce No. 1
For use in creaming vegetables.
1 tablespoonful butter 1 tablespoonful flour 1/4 teaspoonful salt
Few grains pepper 1 cupful milk
Medium Thick White Sauce No. 2
2 tablespoonfuls butter 2 tablespoonfuls flour 1/4 teaspoonful salt
Few grains pepper 1 cupful milk
Thick White Sauce No. 3
For use in binding together croquettes, certain scalloped dishes and fish and meat loaves.
4 tablespoonfuls butter
1/2 cupful flour
1/4 teaspoonful salt
1/8 teaspoonful pepper 1 cupful milk
Barely melt the butter in a smooth saucepan or double boiler top. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and seasonings, preferably with a wire whisk. Then return to the heat and add the cold liquid a little at a time, stirring all the while. Be sure that the sauce thickens with each addition of liquid before adding any more; otherwise, it is liable to be lumpy. Let come to a boil and then set over hot water for ten minutes. If the article to be creamed is added at this time, the whole will become thoroughly hot at the end of the ten minutes. Therefore this final cooking is not a waste of time.
In making thick sauce, chicken- or veal-stock, or half milk and half oyster liquor, may be substituted, according to the intended usage. Cream sauce may be made by substituting thin cream for the milk in any of the formulas. Be careful not to heat the butter too hot or it will break up. This is Why it should be removed from the fire when the flour is added. However, in order to cook the flour thoroughly, it is necessary to let the sauce stand over boiling water for the ten minutes as directed. Oleomargarine may be substituted for the butter if desired. In this case, increase the amount of salt a little. Or, use half oleomargarine and half butter.