Friday, October 5, 2012

Velouté

Broccoli Cream Soup
thickened with Velouté  
In my last column in The Aztec, and in my last blog post, I mentioned the use of velouté in order to make the sauce for your shallow poached dish. The sauce I described is a classic French sauce known as Sauce Vin Blanc. (Simply, white wine sauce.) Velouté is a very important part of Sauce Vin Blanc.

But don't let the fancy name scare you! Velouté is simply chicken stock that is thickened with pale roux. If you're interested in making velouté (which can be the base of any number of white sauces....it's known as a "mother sauce"), first take a look at my previous post titled "Roux".

Now that you're familiar with roux, all you have to do is temper the right ratio of warm pale roux into cool chicken stock. (For light consistency, the ratio is about 12 oz of roux for every gallon of chicken stock.  Since you will probably make velouté in much smaller quantities, that equates to about 1 1/2 oz of roux for every pint of chicken stock.)  Then, bring this mixture to a gentle simmer. It's usually a good idea to add some aromatics, as well, for flavor. Simply place some parsley stems, crushed garlic, peppercorns, and thyme stems into cheesecloth. Tie with kitchen twine, leaving a long enough tail to tie to the side of your pot and submerge it in the liquid. Simmer for at least 20 minutes or until you reach your desired consistency. Don't season your velouté with salt at this point as you will be adding it to your reduced cuisson (when poaching) which already contains salt, or will become the base of something else that you will season later.  You can add more salt once your velouté is incorporated if needed.

Again, chicken stock thickened with roux can be used as the base of nearly any white sauce, gravy or even cream soups, so make a little extra and be creative in using it! Good luck!