Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Many cooks are intimidated by sauces and salad dressings.  I just don’t understand why. Bottled dressings/sauces are often loaded with sodium, sugar, colorants, artificial flavorings and preservatives – Why bother? When many of these sauces are really quite easy and quick to make yourself!

Au jus
My first Sunday lunch at the Boyers, my then future mother in law,  LouLou served a roast beef with “au jus” (the natural meat juices).  My favorite way to eat it. But I could not understand how she got a full gravy boat of natural juices. When asked she just laughed and said it was “simple”. No further explanation. So simple that not one of my 200+ French cookbooks explain how to make Au Jus. Well it may be too simple for them to explain, but once I became a Boyer - I got her to show me.. And here it is – really very simple! 

Under and around the roasting meat, place chopped shallots. As the juices drip from the meat, the shallots caramelize. Before they blacken and burn, add a cup of water. As the liquid evaporates  keep adding a little water at a time. When the roast is done, just whisk the water and meat drippings. That is Au Jus! Très simple!

Mustard Vinaigrette  (2 minutes!!)
At the bottom of the salad bowl, place 1 tspn of Dijon mustard. (I prefer, Maille, sold at Marona’s and Adam’s). Add 1Tbspn of red wine vinegar ( My choice is Dal Raccolta, I buy it at Quattros). Season. before you add the oil, because salt does not mix with oil). Add one tbspn of peanut oil. Whisk until thickens. Add 2nd tbspn of peanut oil. Whisk until thicker. Add 3rd tbspn of peanut oil. Whisk again. VOILA! French Salad Dressing! For green salads, chop up shallots or Vidalia Onions and marinate in the dressing (for a few minutes to a few hours). Place washed, spun dry salad greens on top. Wait until serving time to toss. Simple enough!

Garlic Vinaigrette  (2 minutes!!)
At the bottom of the salad bowl, place 1 tbspn of red wine vinegar, add one or two cloves of crushed garlic. Season. Whisk. Add one tablespoon of olive oil (cold first press). Whisk until thick. Add second tablespoon of olive oil. Whisk. Add third tablespoon of olive oil. Whisk. VOILA! 

Mayonnaise   (3 minutes!)
At the bottom of small bowl, place 1 tspn of Dijon mustard and the yellow of one raw egg. Whisk. Add salt & pepper. Slowly drizzle a little peanut oil into egg yolk mixture whisking briskly. As the sauce thickens and lightens it is emulsifying. At that point you can whisk less strenously as you slowly drizzle the rest of one cup of peanut oil into the mixture. It should be thick and fluffy holding its shape by itself. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar and serve! (Do not refrigerate - do not save any old mayonaise. No preservatives so it does not hold up well. Next time you want some, take another three minutes to make some more!

Bechamel Sauce (12 minutes)
In a saucepan over low heat, melt 2 tbspns of butter and whisk in 2 tbspns of flour. While constantly whisking, slowly add (¼ cup at a time) two cups of milk (I use skim ). It will thicken.. Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper and a touch of nutmeg. The French usually use this very simple white sauce in baked recipes instead of cream.

Mornay Sauce (13 minutes)
Add ½ cup of grated cheese (gruyere or cheddar) to a Bechamel Sauce.

Mushroom Saucec (14 minutes)
Add sauteed mushrooms to a Bechamel Sauce.

Alfredo Sauce (7 minutes)
Melt ¼ cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add 1 cup cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add 1 clove crushed garlic and 1½cups parmesan cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. Stir in ¼ cup chopped parsley and serve.

Mustard Cream Sauce (5 minutes)
Boil and reduce the ¼ cup of light cream in a small saucepan for 4 to 5 minutes over low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of grainy mustard and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Pepper slightly and serve.

Reduction Sauce ( 8-10 minutes).
Before serving any meat or poultry braised in liquid, remove the meat and keep warm. Take out and reserve all but one cup of the liquid. Turn up the heat until it boils. Thicken by adding a tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk the boiling liquid until it thickens add remaining liquid a 1/2 cup at a time - continuously whisking and reducing liquid to a nice thick sauce. Spoon on to coat meat and serve the rest in a gravy boat!

Red Wine Sauce (15 minutes)
In a sauce pan place 2 cups of Pinot Noir or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 3 chopped shallots, 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper. Put on medium high flame and reduce to less than half. (Add 1 tspn of arrowroot to 1 tablespoon of hot wine sauce and then put into the casserole if it does not thicken by itself). Add 1 cup of veal stock, bring to a boil and filter before serving hot with red meat or game.

We love getting your feedback, please send comments to RonaBoyer@gmail.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment