Use of Sauces and Gravies.—Each sauce must possess a distinct flavour and character of its own, and add either richness, piquancy, or flavour without losing its own identity; but unless purposely employed to disguise the absence of flavour in some insipid substance, they should never be allowed to overpower the natural flavour of dishes of game, poultry, meat, etc., with which they are served. The excellence of many entrées depends almost entirely on the sauces which enter largely into their composition. Boiled fish would be insipid without an appropriately flavoured sauce. Some dishes of boiled meat, and many simple puddings are almost unpalatable without their customary sauces; while a good gravy is indispensable with meat, poultry, and game.
Difference between Sauces and Gravies.—Gravy is simply the juices of meat, diluted and seasoned but not thickened, except the slightly-thickened brown gravy, which ought really to rank as a thin sauce.
Sauce.—Sauce has been defined as a LIQUID SEASONING, thickened by means of one of the following liaisons (or mixtures of yolk of eggs, cream, etc., used for thickening or binding white soups and sauces):—
- „ fawn.
- „ brown.
- Eggs and cream.
- Butter and cream.
- Blended butter and flour.
- Arrowroot, cornflour, Fecule.
Roux.—The literal translation of this word is "russet," but in a culinary sense it is a mixture of equal quantities of butter and flour cooked over a slow fire, or in a cool oven, until the desired colour is acquired. There are three varieties of roux: white, fawn, and brown; and this form of thickening is generally employed in making good sauces. It may be made in small quantities as required, or in larger quantities, which, if closely covered, will keep good for months. When roux is made for immediate use it should be allowed to cool slightly before adding the liquid to it. When using perfectly cold roux, the liquid should be added to it more gradually: in both cases the sauce must be constantly stirred until it boils, and then allowed to simmer until it attains the required consistency. A heaped-up tablespoonful of roux will thicken 1 pint of liquid. Directions for the preparation of the respective liaisons (sauce thickenings) will be found in the following pages.
THE BASES OR FOUNDATIONS OF SAUCES.
The following liquids form the bases of most of the sauces:—
1. White Stock.—Nearly all the good white savoury sauces have for their foundation white stock and milk, used in varying proportions.