Of Sauces I will endeavour to say as little as possible, since we do not attempt the grande cuisine or cuisine classique, the sauces of which, as Mr. Theodore Child very justly observes, are beyond you, unless you possess a very excellent cook and a good long purse. But we must discuss a few besides the very simple ones already mentioned ; those of oil with lemon, salt, and pepper, and their development, into the vinaigrette, the sauce verte, or the ravigote, and we must also say a word about thickening and glaze.
Glaze is the most important of bases for sauces. Take thick veal cutlets, reduce with carrots, onions, and peppercorns, little or no salt; reduce all day, strain. (Can be procured at Benoist's, in Piccadilly.) Thickening with flour and water, or flour and milk, or flour and stock should be prepared on the fire, passed through a tammy, and stirred five minutes with a wooden spoon while pouring into the sauce. Thickening with butter and flour (roux) is prepared on a low fire until a light brown, and then poured into the sauce on a brisk fire until it boils. Then put aside, let it simmer 1 hour, and skim. Thickening with egg is done after the sauce has been taken off the fire and cooled at least 2 minutes, otherwise it turns when the eggs are put into it.
Thicken with batter only on taking sauces (or vegetables) off the fire when ready to serve.
Since drawn batter (the French sauce blanche) enters so largely into our British bills of fare I may as well state the reason why it is so frequently a failure, tasting oftener like paste than like butter. Goufle explains-and it may be a sorry comfort for you to know that similar complaints exist in France-that the first reason is the insufficient quantity of butter, the proper proportion being 3 of the former to 1 of flour, and the second the putting all the materials into the pot together, instead of first mixing, with the seasoning, 1 of butter and 1 of flour, stirring with a wooden spoon till boiling, then adding the remaining 2 of butter, taking off the fire and allowing the butter to melt.
Proceed gradually also in making Sauce Hol-landaise. Mix in the "bain-marie" a piece of butter the size of a walnut with the yolk of an egg and seasoning (the germ and the white of the egg carefully removed), keep stirring and take off the fire as soon as the egg begins to set, then add the same quantity of butter, stir until melted, put back on the fire 1 minute, then proceed again with the same quantity of butter, repeating this operation four or five times. When quite thick add a little tarragon vinegar, or, better still, a squeeze of lemon. If the sauce turns, correct by a spoonful of cold water. Some cooks prefer using a whisk to a wooden spoon, but wood is better than metal; therefore, if you use a whisk, let it be a wooden one.
This is Gouffe's recipe, but I have found a much simpler one equally good:-4 yolks of eggs, the juice of 1 lemon, a small 1/2 lb. of perfectly fresh butter, 2 tablespoonful of cold water; put all into a saucepan over a brisk fire and whip until it comes to a boil.
Never put Sauce Hollandaise into a hot sauce boat, it is sure to turn.
In the matter of seasoning herbs Mr. Theodore Child's remarks deserve every attention, and the allspice described by him, prepared according to Gouffe, is excellent for the- Mirepoix, which is a basis for brown sauces. Brown in a stew-pan with 8 oz. of butter, 1 lb. of uncooked ham and 1/2 lb. of fat bacon, all cut into small pieces. Slice 2 onions, 2 carrots, and 2 shallots, and add a couple of bay leaves, a bunch of parsley, and a sprig or two of thyme, also a dozen peppercorns, bruised. Substitute, if you like, the allspice above named for the herbs. When slightly coloured pour in 2 quarts of good veal stock and a bottle of light wine. Boil and strain after simmering 2 hours.