Learning to cook has been an ongoing process that was propelled by this cooking course. And while there have been quite a few “aha”
moments, one that sticks in my head is when I made my first beurre blanc sauce way back when I first had a trial membership on Rouxbe. Not to be obnoxious, but it turned out perfect. As I recall, it was a recipe that included a white fish and golden beets. I have made that sauce many times since, but my favorite has to be with tarragon beurre blanc over a bed of fingerling potatoes and pan-seared salmon.
After that, I learned how to make a basic roux that has served me well in making many things, but most importantly, in the gravy for biscuits and gravy—my daughter’s favorite meal. And with roux under my belt, I was able to make béchamel for the base of my tetrazzini and pot pies. And I cannot forget when I learned how to make pan sauces from the sucs, stock or wine, shallots, etc. While I felt I had a handle on sauces, I am humbled to know that there are many more sauces out there that deserve my attention as well.
Unit 13: Sauces expanded on my horizons and honed my current sauce skills. My favorite new sauce has to be the velouté sauce though. It was actually one of the graded assignments in this unit so I have detailed pictures for my virtual scrapbook…To being the process of making the velouté, I set up 3 tablespoons of butter and all-purpose flour along with 2 cups of chicken stock. I also made sure the salt and pepper were close by for final seasoning. And lastly, I got out a sauce pan, wooden spoon, and whisk.
To make the roux, I melted the butter over medium-low heat. I then added the flour and began to whisk to incorporate. I cooked the roux until the blond stage which took about 6 minutes. The roux took on a slightly darker color than a white roux and no longer smelled of raw flour.
Once the roux was ready, I started to slowly add the stock, whisking to incorporate. I continued to add stock in small batches, waiting for the mixture to come to a gentle boil between additions. I continued to add stock until the sauce looked smooth and silky; which ended up being almost all of the stock.
The upper picture shows how my velouté looked after the initial addition of stock. The lower picture shows the gentle boil that I was looking for to know when to add additional stock as the sauce was coming together.
Once the velouté was done, I added a pinch of salt and some pepper, tasted, added a bit more salt, and tasted again. The final velouté was smooth with a gentle shine. It coated the spoon, but as it dropped back into the bowl, it did not leave any obvious marks in the sauce. I was surprised by the amount of flavor it had; given that it was basically only three simple ingredients. I have spent the last half hour dipping my spoon in it and licking it clean…over and over, again!