Fish, Veal, or Chicken Velouté

Flour-thickened sauces have recently gained a bad reputation. Like great courtesans, they seem to come and go. Their recent decline in fashion is the result of years of malpractice. In and of themselves, properly executed, they are light, ethereal, digestible and, in this case, liquid velvet. Veloutés must be simmered for an hour and skimmed constantly. Then they can be enriched with cream or egg yolks and cream, or a flavored butter—tarragon or lobster, or ginger-cilantro, for example. Use a heavy enamel, nickel, or tin-lined pot in which to make the sauce.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart rich fish, veal, or chicken stock
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup whipping cream


Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour.

Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the stock. Bring to a simmer, skim off any scum, and put the saucepan half off the heat so that it boils gently on one side only. Simmer, skimming constantly on the nonboiling side, for one hour. Add the salt, cook 5 minutes, strain, and stir in the cream.