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Getting Saucy

Week 3 already, the start of stocks, sauces and soups. Time is flying by in culinary school and I sure am having food fun!!!

We started learning the basics of Escoffier’s Mother Sauces: Bechamel, Veloute, Brown, Tomato and Hollandaise. Or as I would sum up: butter, cream, yolks, roux & more butter! Most of that will be covered next week, as we first needed to learn how to make roux. Contrary to what many American’s believe, roux is not just used for making gumbo or creole soups. Roux is a thickener made by cooking equal parts (by weight) of fat and flour. As a rule of thumb, 1 pound of roux thickens 1 gallon of liquid. The benefits of using a roux is that it thickens soups and sauces without lumps or raw starchy taste. It can be a little time consuming to prepare (about 2o minutes) but it lasts for weeks/months. From now on I’m going to make a batch of roux and keep it in the fridge for instant thickening!

the start of roux

Most of us are used to adding cornstarch or raw flour to thicken up a sauce or soup. Two things I learned this week worth sharing: 1) Cornstarch is quick and easy to prepare, but it clouds clear liquids and can break down if held at hot temperatures for an extended period of time.  2) Flour is also quick and easy to add, but it can form lumps and leave an unpleasant raw flour or pasty taste. Arrowroot is a good alternative to roux, but it can be expensive. Learn how to make roux in upcoming editions of The Daily Dish!

We also made beef stock and beef consomme. Now if any of you are like me, I have always associated beef consomme with bland hospital food. I quickly learned how wrong I was!! My beef consomme  was one of the most delicately delicious, flavorful soups I have ever tasted. And I’m not biased – the chef instructor even gave me an “excellent” comment after he tasted it!  Not to mention that this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever cooked, from a purely scientific standpoint.  I took beef stock, added what is called “clearmeat” (a mixture of lean protein, egg whites, aromats and acid) which traps impurities as it coagulates and brought the mixture to a high simmer. The clearmeat rose to the top of the liquid, producing a “raft.” After 1-2 hours of simmering to extract as much flavor as possible, I ladled the consomme into my bowl. Crystal clear broth – you won’t believe it until you see it below. I want to know who thought of this!  Can’t wait to see what we make next week. Stay tuned!

1) Beef stock mixes with clear meet

2) The raft forms

3) Crystal clear consomme

3) Crepe "noodle" garnish....mmm good!

One Response to “Getting Saucy”

  • Marianne Says:

    Seriously, I cant look at canned broth the same. Wonderful pictures..Thanks for the information!

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