THE preparation of a sauce is of as much importance as the preparation of a dish itself and is frequently the supreme test of the cook's skill. Some of the famous cooks of history, like Bechamel, the celebrated chef of Louis XIV, for instance, are remembered chiefly through a sauce of their own invention.
The foundation for almost all of the common sauces is what the French call "roux." This is butter and flour cooked together and thinned with milk, water or other liquid. Under no circumstances should a sauce be thickened by adding a mixture of flour and water, as in this case the flour is seldom well cooked, or by adding flour alone, as this method is certain to cause lumps. The flour should be allowed to cook before the liquid is added.
1 tablespoon butter or fat 1 cup stock
1 tablespoon flour Salt and pepper
Brown the flour in the butter, stirring it until smooth; then add the seasoning and the stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
If the sauce is to be served with a roast, use a little of the fat in which the meat was roasted instead of the butter and make the sauce in the roasting pan. For those who like the flavor of onion it is a good plan to roast an onion with the meat, adding it to the sauce.
Onion juice, Worcestershire sauce, tomato catsup or mushroom catsup may be added as flavoring if desired.
1 cup brown sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped capers 1 tablespoon chopped pickle ½ teaspoon tarragon vinegar
Make the brown sauce; add the other ingredients and serve.
½ cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup milk
½ small onion sliced
1 tablespoon butter ¼ teaspoon salt Dash of pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Have the crumbs very fine and dry; put them on the fire with the milk and onion. Bring to aboil; press through a sieve; return to the fire; add the butter and seasoning and serve. This is used with partridges, quail and grouse.
1 tablespoon butter 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour ½ teaspoon salt
Dash of red or black pepper
Melt the butter, being careful not to brown it; add the flour; stir until smooth; then add the milk gradually, stirring constantly until it boils. Season and use at once.
Make a cream sauce; add one cup of fresh mushrooms, finely chopped; cook for ten minutes and serve.
Make a cream sauce; add two hard-boiled eggs, the whites, finely chopped and the yolks pressed through a sieve.
3 tablespoons chopped mint 2 tablespoons powdered sugar leaves ¾ cup vinegar
Have the mint very fine; mix it with the sugar; add the vinegar; stir well together and serve with roast lamb. If desired hot, heat the vinegar and sugar, and add the mint just before serving.