White Sauce Based on Reduced Cream

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • yield:

    1 quart

Appears in

Sauces

By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Starting in the 1950s, sauces in France began to be thickened with reduced cream. By the 1980s, they had become almost universal and in most cases completely replaced roux-thickened white sauces. Because they are given body by reduction instead of roux, they are usually more intensely flavored than their roux-thickened predecessors. The main disadvantages to using reduced-cream-thickened sauces are the large amount of stock required and the time needed to reduce them to give them body and full flavor. Despite their light appearance, these sauces have an extremely high fat content, more than roux-thickened versions.

One error beginning sauciers sometimes make is trying to make cream-finished sauces too thick. If a reduced-cream sauce is boiled down until it is as thick as a traditional flour-thickened sauce, the resulting sauce is heavy and cloyingly rich, and much of the intense flavor of the meat stock will be lost. One method of avoiding this is to think of the sauce as more a creamy broth than a sauce that must adhere to the surface of the meat, and serve meats in deep plates or shallow bowls.

When reduced cream is combined with concentrated stock, the resulting sauce is roughly analogous to a traditional sauce suprême. The only differences are that roux-thickened stock (sauce velouté) is replaced with concentrated, unbound stock, and a higher proportion of cream is used.

Concentrated (reduced) stock is often used for making flourless sauces, not only because of its intense flavor but because it contains natural gelatin that, along with the reduced cream, contributes to the consistency of the finished sauce.

Ingredients

heavy cream 1 qt 1 L
concentrated white stock (6 times reduction) cups 625 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste

Method

  1. Reduce the cream in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan over medium to high heat until it is reduced by about a third and starts to thicken. (The saucepan should be especially large to prevent the cream from boiling over.) If the cream threatens to boil over, whisk it or reduce the heat. In any case, the cream should be whisked for a few seconds every minute or so to prevent it from breaking or becoming grainy. Never cook cream covered or it will break.
  2. Heat the stock in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Simmer if necessary until the stock has a syrupy consistency.
  3. Whisk the reduced cream into the stock. The sauce will have a light texture. The consistency can be adjusted by reducing if the sauce is too thin or by adding cream or stock if it is too thick.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce through a fine chinois.