Fish and Meat Sauces

The French chef keeps always on hand four sauces, — White, Brown, Béchamel, and Tomato, — and with these as a basis is able to make kinds innumerable. Butter and flour are usually cooked together for thickening sauces. When not browned, it is called roux; when browned, brown roux. The French mix butter and flour together, put in saucepan, place over fire, stir for five minutes; set aside to cool, again place over fire, and add liquid, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Butter and flour for brown sauces are cooked together much longer, and watched carefully lest butter should burn. The American cook makes sauce by stirring butter in saucepan until melted and bubbling, adds flour and continues stirring, then adds liquid, gradually string or beating until the boiling point is reached. For Brown Sauce, butter should be stirred until well browned; flour should be added and stirred with butter until both are browned before the addition of liquid. The secret in making a Brown Sauce is to have butter and flour well browned before adding liquid.

It is well worth remembering that a sauce of average thickness is made by allowing two tablespoons each of butter and flour to one cup liquid, whether it be milk, stock, or tomato. For Brown Sauce a slightly larger quantity of flour is necessary, as by browning flour its thickening property is lessened, its starch being changed to dextrine. When sauces are set away, put a few bits of butter on top to prevent crust from forming.

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