The Five Mother Sauces (6 if you include oil and vinegar based sauces), are essential in French cooking. These are so versatile, and spawn a whole host of derivative sauces that are made from them. The derivative sauces are also called small sauces, or daughter sauces; and there are a bunch of them.
So, Pamela, I see your hand is up. What’s your question? You ask, why are the mother sauces so important?
Well, have you ever eaten a creamy Alfredo , or Mornay sauce over pasta/ They are noth daughters of Bechemel Sauce, one of the other sauces. Have you had creamed veggies, or creamed chipped beef? Yep, that white sauce is Bechemel. So many cfreamy gravies are made from Veloute, and Espagnole Sauce. And Sauce Tomate, or tomato sauce goes on everything from pasta to meatball subs, to lasagna,. It can also be the basis for a great coating on chicken, liver, beef, pork, and fish. And mayonnaise is a cousin to Hollandaise Sauce. So, does that answer your question? Good.
We will now explore the 5 mother sauces, and some, but not all, of the small sauces made from them.
Oh, and there is a ton of info here, so if you need a bathroom break, take it now. I’ll wait. Da tada, tada.
Ok, everyone is back I see. So, on with the class.
Way back in the day, their was a famous French guy named Auguste Escoffier who categorized the French sauces into categories, starting with what he called “The Five Mother or Grande Sauces”.
These sauces are the basic sauces from which almost all small or derivative sauces in French cooking are made. They are as follows:
1 Bechemel Sauce
5 Sauce Tomate (Tomato)
There are some that would add Oil and Vinegar as 6th Grande Sauce, so you could say that there are actually six mother Sauces.
The first of these, Becheml, is basically a white sauce made from equal parts fat and flour, and a dairy liquid, either milk or cream. The following is and excellent version and is so very versatile.
The first part of this sauce is the roux, which is equal parts fat and flour.
4 tbs. butter or lard (butter gives a richer flavor)
4 tbs. white all‑purpose flour
milk or heavy cream
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
Dash of Ground nutmeg
Heat the fat in pot over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add the flour and nutmeg, and stir with a whisk or spoon until a smooth paste is formed. This is the roux. Continue stirring over medium heat until the butter/flour mixture just starts to brown. This is called a blonde roux. Add the milk or cream, a little at a time, while stirring briskly. At first, the mixture will form a very stiff paste. But as you add more liquid, it will thin into a luxuriously smooth and silky sauce. It is done when it is thin enough to drip in sheets from the spoon. Add salt to taste.
This sauce is the basic sauce from which creamed soups, souffle’s, creamed veggies, and things like Alfredo sauce are made.
To make an Alfredo sauce, simply take 2 cups of Bechemel sauce and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly so that it no longer boils. Finely grate fresh Parmesano Regiano cheese into the sauce while stirring. Use about a quarter cup of grated cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely blended into the sauce. Serve with chicken or pork, and pasta.
Another popular small sauce that uses Bechemel as its strting point is Mornay sauce. This is just slightly different than Alfredo Sauce. But the flavor is substantially changed by the additional ingredients.
1 1/2 TBS butter
1 1/2 TBS flour
3/4 cup milk (heated)
6 TBS gruyere cheese, grated
2 TBS Parmesano Regiano cheese, grated
1/8 tsp nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Make this in the same fashion as the above recipe for Alfredo Sauce. First make the roux, thin with the milk, and stir in the other ingredients over low heat until they are thoroughly blended. Serve immediately over steamed or grilled veggies.
Veloute is made in the same way as is Bechemel. But substitutes veal, pork, fish/seafood , or poultry broth or stock in place of the milk or cream. Broth made from these are called white stock. Veloute is the basis for smooth and silky gravies. You can also use the liquid from cooked beans or split peas to thin the Veloute and add it to split pea or bean soup to hold the bean or pea solids in suspension (keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pot. This is called “binding” the soup. You can even do this with the broth from chili to thicken it for use with rice or on hot dogs.
Hollandaise is an emulsion of fat, and egg, flavored with lemon juice. It is much easier to make than most people think if you follow correct procedure, you will need a double boiler, or saucepot and a heat resistant glass bowl. , and a balloon whisk.
2 egg yolks (large)
1pinch Kosher Slt
1 tbs. Lemon juice
4 sticks of butter, melted
Heat water in the double boiler until it simmers. Place the separated egg yolks into the top of the double boiler (or into the glass bowl) and place on top of the bottom pan. Do not let the top section touch the water. Whisk vigorously until the yolk begins to thicken. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt. Finally, slowly whisk in the melted butter until you get a silky-smooth sauce. Serve this over veggies such as asparagus, or over poached eggs. It’s also great over cauliflower, or broccoli.
Some small, or daughter sauces from Holandaise:
Cahoron Sauce – To the Hollandaise, add 2 tbs. White wine, 1 ½ tbs minced shallot, 2 tsp. Fresh chopped Tarragon, ½ tsp. finely ground black pepper, and 2 tsp tomato paste.
Sauté the shallots in 1 tsp. Butter until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, plus 1tbs. Of water. Add to the Hollandaise and whisk until smooth.
Bernaise Sauce – Is made by adding shallots, Taragon, whit wine,and black pepper to the Hollandaise.
1 recipe Hollandaise Sauce
3 tbs. Minced shallots
1 tbs. Freshly mince Tarragon
2tbs. Wite wine
1/4 tsp. Black peppr
Melt 1 tbs. Butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and reduce the heat to low. Cook shallots, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Add the Tarragon and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the white wine . Let cool for five minutes then add to the Hollandaise. Stir in the black peper.
Like its mother, this is a great sauce over poached eggs, chicken, beef steak, or wiod game, and fish.
Cahron Sauce – This sauce is a derivative of Bernaise Sauce. It’s made by adding tomato and a ltille red pepper to the Bernaise.
1 reipe Bernaise Sauce
4 tbs. Tomato puree
2tbs. Tomato paste
Cayenne Pepper totaste
To the freshly made Bernaise sauce, add the remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth, and add the Cayenne pepper (optional). This sauce is very good with pasta, or mixed into browned ground beef. It’s s great topping for rice, steak, poultry, and fish. I could also add veggies such as carrots, and celery to tun this into a soup. Add shrimp to make it into a bisque.
There are many other sauces that come from Hollandaise, to many to put in this little document. Do a little exploring on the internet for great daughter sauces of Hollandaise Sauce. Some sauce s you would like:
Espagnole Sauce – This mother sauce is made frim a browned rouc, and made into a rich sauce with concentrated beef broth, or stock (brown stock) mirepoix, and tomato. It is strong flavored and rarely used by itself. What make Espagnole Sauce important is the rich, and wonderful daughter sauces that are made from it. Here’s how you make it (you can’t get his from a store, or in a season-packet)
Miripoix – a combination of carrot, celery, and onions that is very important in Frech cooking.
1 small carrot, washed, peeled, and finely choped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped coarsely
1 rib celery chopped coarsely
¼ cup butter
4 cups beef stcok/broth
2 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
1tbs black peppercorns, whole
1 Bay Leaf
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose white flour
¼ cup tomato puree
Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Stir until all veggies are soft. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Remove from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
Add the ¼ cup of butter and flour to the pan. Stir until dark brown in color. Add the beef stock slowly, whisking ntil a smooth sauce forms. Now add the cooked veggies (mirepoix), the tomato puree, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for ten minutes. Your Espangnole is finished.
Not only does this have great derivatives, but it is also the basis for some famous Loisiana foods, such as gumbo, and etoufe.
Demi-Glace – is made from a brown roux, and a clarified beef broth concentrate, with tomato added. Itis used as is with high quality beef roasts, or in other derivative sauces.
Chasseur Sauce – hunter’s sauce adds demi-glace, shallot, mushrooms’, white wine and tomato
Bordelaise – addsmdry, white wine, shallots, and demi-glace
Chateubriand – combines the Espagnole with dry white wine, shallots, demi-glace, cayenne pepper, tarragon, and lemon
Robert Sauce – is made from onion, dry white wine, deniglace, and dijon mustard
There are other sauces as well. They are all delectable/ I invite you to go online to learn the recipe, and technique for making Demi-Glace, and the other Espgnole derivative sauces.
Tomato Sauce (Sauce Tomate) This sauce has a little more body, and a more complex flavor than the basic tomato sauce you put over pasta. The added flavor comes from additional vegetables used in its making.
As with all of the mother sauces, there are many daughter sauces, each suited to various meat, and vegetable preparations.
This recipe is the original Escoffier version.
2 1/2 oz. butter
5 oz. A;; Purpose flour
7 oz. coarse-diced carrot
5 oz. diced onion
5oz, belly salt pork 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
13 lb. fresh roma tomatoes, blanched andpeeled, or9 pints tomato puree
2 gallons white stock plus one cup
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 oz, losher salt
1 oz. sugar
1 pinch ground black pepper
If using fresh tomatoes, after blanching and skinning, mash them until semi-smooth. Process in a food processor, or blender until smooth.
Heat a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the pork, and veggies. Sauté until lightly browned. Add the bay leaf, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic, thyme, and flour. stir until the flour is lightly browned. Pour in the tomato and stir to combine everything together. Stir in the white stock. Cover and place into a 320′ F. oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and place on stove top. Remove the lid and bring to a simmer again. Simmer on low for ten minutes. Pour into a clean bowl and top with softened butter. Let the butter melt on top to seal the sauce and prevent the formation of a skin.
This is not a Marinara, though it is similar. It has a more complex flavor than does its Italian cousin.
Some small/derivative sauces of Sauce Tomate:
Provencal Sauce – Sauce Tomate with sliced mushroom’s, more garlic, capers, Herbs de Province, chopped parsley, and olive oil. It is a classic over fish, poultry, and beef. Try this sauce with roast duck, or smothering Cornish game hens. Ladle over breaded, or battered, fried fish, or on top of baked fish.
Portugaise Sauce – has Sauteed onion, tomato concase (chopped and seeded tomato), an Demi-glace added. It is great over swiss steak, breaded pork cutlets, backed chicken, country-fired steak, etc. It’s also quite nice with ground beef over rice.
Puttanesca Sauce – Sauce Tomate wirh capers, black olices, anchovies, and basil.. The addition of the capers and anchovies adds a tone of umami, resulting in an almost meaty flavor. The black olives, and basil further add complexity and flavor to this sauce. You can serve it over linguini, or raviolis, over rice, However, this sauce was created to be paired with pasta. It is rich, and so hearty. You will love it.
Amaireiciana Sauce – an offerig from the Italian town, Amatrice. It consists of Sauce Tomate, with the addition of bacon, or Pancetta, sliced onion, and crushedchili flakes. This is another pasta sauce that goes well with linguini, penne, or spaghetti. It’s also greatas a topping for bruchetta (talk about mixing your Mediteranian foods). Top with a good, hard cheese such as Parmesano-Regiano, Asiago, Pecorino-Romano, Grana Podano, or some combination of them.
Ok, I thiknk i hace all of the other sauces, and many of the derivative/daughter/small sauces. There are of course, many other sauces from all over the world. I would venture to say, that whether you are exploring Asian, African, Greek, The many varied cuisines of South, and central American, Middle eastern, or any ohter part of the world, they come with wonderful, and varied sauces to compliment and satsify any flavor you are hungry for. Think of a banana split without strawberry, caramel, and chocolate sauce, or Bananas Foster whiteout its own rich sauce. Can you imagine egg rolls without sweet and sour sauce< or barbecued ribs without a sweet and tangy bbq sauce? Did you know that mayonnaise is sometimes included in the Mother sauces? And Aioli, a flavored mayo. A sauce can be as simple as a honey-mustard, or as complicated as my own pineapple sweet and sour sauce. The world of sauces is vast. As long as this lesson is, it just barely scratches the surface of sauce found throughout the world. My next few lessons will further explore hte essential world of sauces.’
And Frank, You stayed awakw for the whole lesson. I’m duly impressed. Rochelle, for your homework assignment, I want you to go home tonite and make for yourself a chicken velute. You will not be disappointed, especially when you make some riced potatoe, and roasted chicken. Use the chicken drippings to flavor the veloute. I look forward toour next class.