Traditional sauces made in-house tend to be expensive and very difficult to produce consistently. Bonewerks has an unfair advantage in producing our products: It’s all we do. Our focus on products is 100%; we do not have the distractions that a restaurant will have with waitstaff, management, etc.
While modern sauces tend to be lighter, due to more and more people looking to eat healthy, it is impossible to understand how to put together a modern sauce without an understanding of the classics.
Classical sauces are made of three main components. The liquid, the thickener, and the seasonings/garnish.
We find the foundation of this principle in the Grand or Mother Sauces. All small sauces derive from these five Mother Sauces.
The Grand Sauces
Following are brief descriptions of the Mother or Grand Sauces:
Béchamel: A white sauce made of milk thickened with light roux and flavored with onion pique (half onion studded with clove and bay leaf).
Demi-glace: Half-glaze, a mixture of equal proportions of brown stock and brown sauce that has been reduced by half.
Veloute: A sauce of white stock (chicken, veal, and seafood) thickened with white roux. Also, a cream soup made with a Veloute sauce base and flavorings (usually pureed) that is usually finished with a liaison (egg yolks and cream).
Tomato Sauce: A sauce prepared by cooking salt pork, carrot, onion and garlic with tomatoes, blended.
Hollandaise Sauce: A classic emulsion sauce made with a vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and melted butter flavored with lemon juice.
Sauce Béchamel, which is not used nearly as much today as in classical cuisine, still has its place in modern saucemaking. Today, you most often find the Béchamel in a Gratin. A perfect example would be vegetables layered in a baking dish, covered with a Béchamel, and then sprinkled with cheese and/or breadcrumbs. The result is a dish with a flavorful, lightly browned crust. Modern chefs choose to use reduced cream rather than preparing the Béchamel, but by doing so they lose the ability of forming a browned crust, and in some cases the cream can be over reduced and become oily.
The foundation of any great stock is the bones. They provide the flavor, richness, body, and color. The bones most often used for stocks are beef/veal for brown stock, and chicken or fish for white stock. There are also many other stock preparations made from lamb, pork, ham, turkey, duck, vegetable, and other game.
The key to Bonewerks quality is our fresh bones recipe—we use only fresh bones and gas-fired oven systems to roast them for perfect browning.
The second ingredient is the mire poix, which is a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery used as a flavoring agent. We are culinary fanatics right down to our ranch direct mire poix, fresh parsley stems (no leaf), and fresh bay leaves.
Bonewerks utilizes the finest glacial waters, carbon purified and ice cold, to start our stocks.
Finally, there is the addition of fresh mire poix, herbs and spices.
With all ingredients in place, our chefs blend batches like fine wines to produce absolute consistency:
- Slow simmer and skimmings take up to 24 hours.
- Natural reductions take up to nine hours.
Thirty 250-gallon open top steam kettles are used to eliminate any concerns for scorching and allows us to skim impurities to add clarity and eliminate fat, for your creations.
Glace is a stock that has been reduced napé (coats the back of spoon). It is nothing more than a concentrated stock, which has been reduced by 75% or more, and is jelly-like when refrigerated without the addition of starch or gelatin.
A Glace can be made from whatever you make a stock from; therefore, you could have Glace de Veau (veal), Glace de Poulet (chicken), Glace d’ Agneau (lamb), Glace de Porc (pork), Glace de Canard (duck), etc.
Demi Glace (Half Glaze) is a mixture of equal proportions of brown stock and brown sauce that has been reduced by half. The Demi, or half glace, is just what it sounds like. The amount of reduction is less than for a Glace, but produces an incredible foundation from which to produce award-winning sauces.
At Bonewerks we produce two different styles of Demi Glace. Our Demi Elite (in veal or natural beef) relies totally on reductions without any roux or liaison for thickening. Each batch includes over 24 hours of roasting, simmerings and reductions. This product is truly for the “elite” levels of cuisine.
Our Demi Glace de Veau Classic is an “escoffier” method of half reductions and blends, which are further reduced with a liaison of starch for thickening. The addition of herbs and spices creates an economical as well as classical blend.
Bonewerks also produces a Demi Glace de Poulet Classic. Our Chicken Demi is made using a fresh selected roasted chicken bone recipe simmered with mire poix, and blended with our recipe of herbs and spices. This wonderful Demi Glace will fulfill any of your poultry applications.
Reduction plays as important a role in the finishing of a good sauce. There are three major ways to use stock reduction to finish a sauce.
To concentrate flavors: In the same way that we produce a Glace by concentrating a stock through reduction, by reducing a sauce, some of the liquid evaporates, resulting in a more concentrated flavor.
To adjust texture: Reduction causes liquid to evaporate, so you are not only concentrating flavors, but thickening as well, as only the liquid evaporates. If, for instance, a sauce is too thin, one can simmer it until it reaches the proper consistency, or a chef might add some stock to a thickened sauce and then simmer it again bringing it to the right consistency, as well as concentrating the flavor.
To add new flavors: In this case, just as you can reduce a sauce to concentrate the flavor, it is possible to reduce a liquid first, and then add it to your sauce. This is really one of the most important techniques in saucemaking. The perfect example of this is the reduction of wine and/or spirits and liquors.
Let’s look at a classical sauce preparation, which proves this point. In preparing a Bordelaise Sauce, one must first reduce red wine with shallots, pepper, and herbs to one fourth of its original volume. As this mixture is reduced the flavors of all the ingredients are concentrated, and this is what gives this particular sauce its distinctive taste.
Let’s move on to some of the other finishing techniques used in saucemaking.
Deglazing is a technique which is associated with sautéing. To deglaze a pan we swirl in a liquid and dissolve or scrape up the particles of food left in the bottom of the sauté pan. These particles are called the Fond (foundation in French). Once a liquid—like wine—it is added to the pan and reduced, this becomes the foundation of your final sauce.
Enriching your sauce is performed by either adding a liaison (e.g. heavy cream or butter). The liaison actually performs a dual role—it is a thickening agent, but it also provides richness to the final sauce. Heavy cream has always been used in the classical kitchen to add flavor and richness. In its simplest form, when added to a Béchamel, you create cream sauce.
Butter is added to finish sauces to provide richness, flavor, and a nice shine to the final product. The process by which butter is introduced to finish a sauce is called Monte Au Beurre (pronounced mon-tay oh burr), which simply means “to lift with butter.” It is a technique used in both classical and modern sauces. The butter is added by placing a few pats of chilled butter in the hot sauce and swirling the pan off the heat until the butter is incorporated.
Seasoning, as in any recipe, is always the last ingredient. Salt is the most prominent finish seasoning. Pepper, lemon juice, cayenne, and some fortified wines like Sherry and Madeira, whose alcohol is easily evaporated by heat, are some of the other finish seasonings used. However, with that said, the possibilities are endless in modern cuisine for adding new seasonings and flavor profiles to your sauces.
Straining is another finishing technique, which will remove any possible graininess from your sauce, specifically those that have been thickened with a roux. This technique will also be used to remove any of the flavoring ingredients you would not want presented in your final sauce presentation, such as shallots or garlic.
At this point you should consider yourself almost an expert in the art of saucemaking.
The main thing to realize when using Bonewerks products is that we have removed all of the time-consuming steps which you have just read about. Bonewerks provides the necessary foundation Glace and Demi Glace products to produce the finest classical (and improvised) sauces possible. As cooks you are now freed from last-minute reductions, and are able to produce complicated, time-consuming sauces in a matter of minutes.