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Saucy Series XIII: Mushroom Ketchup

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Mushroom Ketchup

Heston Blumenthal is a wonderful character. He appeals to me because he loves to play with food and to study ancient recipes to find inspiration for his dishes. His new restaurant, Dinner, in London is a smashing success with dishes that have a pedigree. One of his most popular historical recipes is one for mushroom ketchup.

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Mushroom ketchup has been made for hundreds of years –– you could call it the English version of soy sauce. It’s salty, positively exploding with umami and is an awesome addition to any meat dish, but can also add a wholly vegetarian meaty depth to a vegetable dish as well.

I’ve seen mushroom ketchup mentioned in recipes for years and always wanted to make it. In looking up mushroom ketchup recipes (my 1846 recipe from The Complete Cook was vague about the ratio of salt to mushrooms and I wanted guidance on that score), the more I searched, the more Heston’s name kept showing up.

Although Heston had a simple 18th century recipe for his base authentic mushroom ketchup, I really fell for a slightly more involved recipe from the 19th century that’s full of pepper –– I love pepper. Honestly, it is very little work but a 48 hour soak. Heston’s recipe is only an overnight drip. You will get somewhere around 2 cups of mushroom ketchup out of my recipe –– I did not make his version but in the video of the process, it appeared to generate about the same amount. You can store it forever in the fridge and even use the leftover mushrooms from the process to make a great mushroom pepper (after a wee dry in the oven). I’ll give you both so you can choose. Do buy the freshest mushrooms that you can. Old mushrooms have lost their liquid and will make for much less ketchup. DO NOT buy sliced mushrooms for the same reason –– they will have lost moisture with the cutting. I halved the recipe but it is easily doubled.

Dinner menu

At his London restaurant, Dinner, all his beef dishes are served with mushroom ketchup, but when I see the pictures of the mixture I am confused because the sauce I see is thick and glossy and mushroom ketchup is the texture of soy or Worcestershire sauces. Big surprise, Heston played with the texture –– he likes to play with food. Authentic mushroom ketchup has the same texture as soy sauce –– Heston makes mushroom ketchup plus.

Taking my cue from Heston, I deployed my sauce series partner D’Artagnan’s magnificent pasture-raised boneless strip sirloin steaks as a perfect medium for my mushroom ketchup. The meat was splendid –– so tender and full of flavor. History tastes great.

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Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Ketchup for 2

2 boneless strip sirloin steaks from D’Artagnan
light salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
Heston’s Mushroom Ketchup Sauce

Salt and pepper the steak. Don’t use much salt because the ketchup is salty. Heat a cast-iron skillet till quite hot. Add olive oil to the pan and put the steaks in the pan. Brown each side. The steak will be rare at this point. Cook longer for more doneness. Let rest a few minutes before serving with the mushroom ketchup.

Heston’s Mushroom Ketchup Sauce

2 oz red wine
1 oz red wine vinegar
1 small chopped shallot
pinch of cloves and mace ( I think pepper would be good too if you are not using my recipe for the mushroom ketchup base)
1 c mushroom ketchup (use Heston’s or the recipe from The Complete Cook – recipes follow)*
2 t cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 T cold water
drained, marinated mushrooms (recipe follows)

Reduce by 1/2 (his recipe called for 2/3rds reduction and I thought that was too much) and strain out the shallots – you will have a little over 1/2 a cup. Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot mixture and return to a low heat for a few minutes. Stir till thickened and remove from the heat. Add the marinated mushrooms and serve with the steak. Depending on the amount of marinade the mushrooms have soaked up, you may want to toss a bit of the mushroom marinade into the ketchup to your taste – I liked the little extra sweetness that it added.

*mushroom ketchup is thin, Heston’s recipe is a thick sauce made from the ketchup

Marinated Mushrooms

5 oz red wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
4 oz mushrooms, sliced

Heat the vinegar and sugar to melt the sugar. Pour over the mushrooms and marinate for 24 hours.

Heston’s Recipe for Mushroom Ketchup

(used as base for the sauce, from an 18th c recipe)

1 3/4 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 1/3 oz salt

Combine the salt and the mushrooms. Enclose in fabric (old t-shirt maybe?) and twist cloth and hang over a pot for 24 hours. Squeeze tightly to extract as much liquid as possible.

Mushroom Ketchup from The Complete Cook

1 3/4 lb mushrooms, pulsed a few times in a food processor or roughly chopped immediately before using
2 oz salt in the original recipe or about 3 T (I think 2T might be better — it’s very salty)
1 oz black peppercorns
1/2 oz allspice berries
1 T brandy

Put the mushrooms and salt in a glass or ceramic bowl and blend well. Let them sit for 2 hours and then stir and cover. Leave for 2 days, stirring a few times a day.

Put into a canning jar with the spices and screw the lid on, you should have around a quart.

Put in a stockpot and bring the water to a low boil (I put a wad of foil at the bottom so the glass wouldn’t touch the metal) for 2 hours. Strain the liquid into another pan using a fine sieve pressing hard on the solids. I finished up the process with a potato ricer that got every last bit of juice out of the mushrooms, but putting them in a cloth and squeezing would work well. Reserve the mushroom pieces that remain from the pressing.

At this point Sanderson recommends reducing the ketchup by half. If you are using it for the Blumenthal ketchup skip this step as the ratio of ketchup to his wine/vinegar mix will be off. Do cool the mixture and add the brandy. Put it in a canning jar. You should have 2 cups unreduced and 1 cup reduced. It is quite salty.

Preheat your oven to 200º, Spread the pepper mushroom mixture on the pan, remove the larger allspice berries and dry for 1 hour or until dried out. Put in a spice grinder and grind. Use as a wonderful mushroom flavored pepper in all your dishes.

Saucy Series X: Bechamel Mornay

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Béchamel Mornay

I discovered Filet of Sole Verdi when I read a description of it that made me swoon –– sole, lobster and truffles on pasta with a creamy Mornay sauce that’s popped under the broiler to brown a bit. Escoffier invented the dish to impress the composer. With 2 great sauces in it I thought it was perfect for the sauce series.

escoffier

Escoffier

But when I looked up the original recipes for béchamel and Mornay sauce, I was shocked.

Escoffier’s original béchamel is made with veal! His white sauce is cooked with pieces of veal for two hours then strained. Remarkable. I will try doing it that way one of these days but decided that, since it was fish, I would go with the simpler, non-veal version that he used for “Lenten preparations.”

Béchamel was named after the Marquis de Béchameil (1630 -1703), of whom Escoffier wrote “After all, if it wasn’t for his divine sauce the Marquis de Béchamel would have been forgotten long ago.” Legend has it that it was invented to sauce dried cod. It is in Varenne’s 1651 Cuisinier Francais made with a veal velouté and cream, so Escoffier’s version echoes the sauce’s velouté ancienne roots (velouté has been around a very long time).

The same was true of the Mornay sauce. Probably named after a “player in the halcyon days” of the 2nd Empire, Charles de Mornay, I never knew Escoffier put fumet into the sauce (fumet being stock-based liquid the meat or fish was poached in). It makes a sublime addition to the cheesy sauce, giving it a bit of backbone.

When you put it together with the sole and lobster and truffles and pasta, ooh la la, you can see why Verdi was pleased with it. It is extremely elegant and if you do the sauces and pasta ahead of time, it can be ready in a few minutes.

Bechamel Mornay 1

Filet of Sole Verdi

(serves 2 main course-4 appetizer)

½ to ¾ lb. filet of sole
1 c fish fumet/stock*
4 c cooked pasta (don’t go too al dente on this, you want it softish to go with the elegant texture of the dish)
1 c cream
2 small lobster tails, shells removed
1 T butter
2 c béchamel
2 c Mornay sauce
1 large D’Artagnan truffle sliced and ¼ chopped (optional)
2-3 t D’Artagnan truffle oil to taste.
Salt and pepper

Put the fish in the stock on medium heat. Add a touch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes per side –– they cook very quickly. Remove. Reduce the stock to 1/2 a cup. Pour any juices that have collected from the fish into the reduced fumet. If you have a lot of juices, you should reduce a little further so you only have 1/2 cup.

Warm the cream. Add the cheeses to the cream. Toss the pasta with the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 t of the truffle oil and some chopped truffle, if you are using it, and toss just before assembling the dish.

Add the fumet to the Mornay sauce and stir. Warm it. It should be thick.

Sauté the lobster tails for a few minutes. They should not be fully cooked. Chop the smaller end of the tail and add to the pasta. Slice the fatter end.

Heat the broiler. Make single skillets or a large skillet with handles that can take the broiler.

Spoon the pasta into the dish. Lay the sole over 2/3 of the dish. Pour the Mornay sauce over the sole and tuck the lobster at the edge of the Mornay sauce. Heat the pan on the stove for a few minutes at medium-low heat.

Put under the broiler on high for a few minutes. Pay attention, it goes from perfect to burned in no time. Remove and top with chopped herbs. Tuck the truffle slices in and drizzle with remaining truffle oil.

*(I always freeze bones and shrimp/lobster shells and make this when I have enough to make a quart of stock. Then freeze it flat and break it off when I need it or freeze in ½ c portions). You could use chicken stock in a pinch.

Bechamel mornay 2

Béchamel

2 c milk
1 small shallot, sliced
1 clove (optional)
3 T butter
2 T flour

Heat the milk and simmer while you melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter and stir over low heat till all bubbly. Do not let it brown. Strain the milk. Pour the hot milk slowly into the flour mixture, stirring all the while over medium heat till all the milk is used and the sauce is thickened. Add the cheeses and set aside.

bechamel mornay 3

Mornay Sauce

2 c béchamel
½ c fish reserved fumet
1 c grated Parmesan
1 c grated Gruyere

Add the fumet to the béchamel and reduce a little. Add the Parmesan and gruyere and stir till smooth.

Saucy Series IX: Cumberland

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Cumberland Sauce

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were giants of the American stage from the 1920s to 1960. They were also legendary entertainers at their home in Manhattan but mostly in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin. All of the greats of stage and screen dropped by their out-of-the-way farm for R&R. Everyone loved it. Fontanne was the perfect hostess and Lunt the master chef. After retiring from the stage, Lunt even got a Cordon Bleu degree and wrote a cookbook that was published after his death by the foundation that took over the house. It is chock full of amazing recipes, all the more so when you think that the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Lawrence Olivier, Noel Coward and Joan Crawford enjoyed them at one time or another.

Cumberland at table

I loved the book and its stories and photos but fell in love with his take on Cumberland Sauce. I LOVE Cumberland Sauce and couldn’t leave it off my Sauce Series list. It is a classic game sauce that has been around in one form or another for a hundred years. Although named after the Duke of Cumberland and thought to be thoroughly English, it has its roots in Germany. Lunt adds a touch of magic in his version with the addition of a bit of horseradish. Best I ever tasted. Although I have always associated it with venison, it would be great with any pork (chops, loin, tenderloin or even sausage or ham) or a game bird (duck to grouse and pigeon) and even would work for vegetarians because it is amazing on sweet potatoes (sans the demi-glace).

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If you like venison, run, do not walk to D’Artagnan for the best venison tenderloin ever. It’s butter tender and full of flavor –– I made it rare and loved it that way. It is also extremely lean, so best not to cook it too much. The sweet and savory combination with a bit of heat from the horseradish and cayenne is masterful and you understand why this sauce has been a favorite for generations (something like it has been used since at least the 18th century). The best part? It takes about 15 minutes to make and can be done ahead of time. That means a world-class dinner could be ready in 1/2 an hour. It’s low in fat and high in flavor, how cool is that?

Cumberland 3

Venison Tenderloin with Cumberland Sauce (serves 3-4)

2 venison tenderloins from D’Artagnan
1 c red wine
2 t juniper berries
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 bay leaf
1 t dry thyme
2 T butter or oil
Cumberland sauce
Steamed sweet potato (a squeeze of orange is great on them)
sautéed spinach

Combine the wine and spices and marinate the venison overnight. Remove from the fridge. Dry the meat and heat the oil in a skillet. Add the meat and sear on all sides. Cook for about 5 more minutes for rare. Tent for 5 minutes, slice and serve with Cumberland sauce and sweet potato and spinach.

Cumberland 1

Alfred Lunt’s Cumberland Sauce (serves 4)

1 t chopped shallot
1 T orange peel in fine julienne
1 T lemon peel in fine julienne
¼ c port
2 T D’Artagnan demi-glace (optional)
1/3 c currant jelly
juice of 1 orange
juice of ½ lemon
½ t dry English mustard
dash of cayenne
1 t freshly grated horseradish with 1 t sherry vinegar or 1 t prepared horseradish*

Boil shallots for 2 minutes in a little water and strain and reserve. Do the same with the lemon and orange peels. Melt the currant jelly and add the peels and shallots. Reduce till thickened and serve warm or at room temperature.

*I am kind of crazy about horseradish so I added a bit more after the sauce had cooked for extra kick.

Cumberland 2

Saucy Series VIII: Bordelaise

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Bordelaise Sauce

Sam Ward was one of the great entertainers of the 19th century.  He virtually invented lobbying in Washington.  He had a talent for creating great dinners with perfectly assembled guests who then made deals since they were in a great mood after great food and conversation.

Uncle Sam Ward

When I looked at one of Sam’s dinner menus, I could see what all the fuss was about –– it is everything you would imagine it to be. The menu is thoughtful and yet full of piquant touches like the Sorbet au Marasquin –– a touch of prussic acid from the cherry pits in maraschino liqueur in the sorbet to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate for the last of the dinner. His nephew, another renowned tastemaker named Ward McAllister, said Sam made sure he would never allow that lest “the fatal mistake should occur of letting two white or brown sauces follow each other in succession; or truffles appear twice in that dinner.” It was always a perfectly choreographed dance of flavors –– and conversation. Without both, the event will never be as great a success.

menu 1

What would I chose for the 4th dish from Sam’s dinner table? I think that Crêpes a la Bordelaise are the perfect choice –– a great addition to a beef dinner with steak or roast, potatoes and a vegetable. My crêpes are light and airy with a winey, mushroom-y bordelaise sauce. They could be served flat or as a beggar’s purse. I know they will delight at your dinner. I have made a white wine bordelaise before for you HERE, but this calls for the red wine version.

Bordelaise is another addition to my Sauce Series that uses both the mother sauce Espagnole and demi-glace. I have included recipes for both but it’s a breeze to order your demi-glace from D’Artagnan and store it in the freezer. I just slice off what I need and put the rest back in the freezer. Bordelaise is great for any steak. You can make it ahead and freeze it easily so you can make your meal in a snap.

Menu 3

Delmonico’s Chef Filippini Recipe from Sam Ward’s Era

Menu 2

Delmonico’s Chef Ranhoffer’s Recipe from Sam Ward’s era

If you are so disposed, you can dissolve a spoon of marrow into the mix, as was done long ago. I skipped that step and let the meatiness of the mushrooms add additional flavor and depth. It’s really pretty easy to make if you have the basics in your freezer.

Crêpes Bordelaise for 4

1 recipe for crêpes
1 recipe for bordelaise
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 T butter

Sauté the mushrooms in the butter. Add the mushrooms to the bordelaise. Fold your crêpes into quarters on your plate and ladle the sauce over them or serve the sauce on the side. They can be plated separately or served on a platter.

Crêpes (makes 12)

3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
butter for pan

Throw the milk, eggs, flour and salt into the blender and let it rip for a minute.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.

Use a stick of butter like a marker and run it all over your pan (or you can use a spoon of clarified butter if you have it). Be especially generous for the first few and use butter before each pour of batter. Swirl 2 T of batter around the pan and flip once it has set –– do not allow to brown too much. Keep warm or reheat gently when you are ready to serve.

Bordelaise

2 shallots, chopped fine
2 t oil or butter
1 c red wine
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 T demi-glace from D’Artagnan
3 T Espagnole sauce* (or add a t. of flour to the sautéed shallots with 1 t. of tomato sauce or ketchup and a little more demi-glace)
stems from 4 mushrooms
1/2 bay leaf
pinch of cloves
1 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
1 T butter or oil

Sauté the shallots in the oil till softened somewhat.

If you are skipping the addition of Espagnole, you can add a teaspoon of flour to the shallots to give the sauce the extra body and add a t. of tomato sauce or ketchup for the right flavor.

Put the wine, garlic, shallots, demi-glace, Espagnole (if you are using it) and stems from mushrooms into a pan and reduce at medium heat until thickened.

Strain the sauce –– you should have about 1/3 cup of sauce about the texture of chocolate syrup –– a bit less if you don’t use the Espagnole. This sauce keeps well for a few days.

*Super-quick version of Espagnole Sauce

1 T butter
1 T flour
1 T bacon
1 T onion
1 T white wine
1 t ketchup
1 cup stock
2 T demi-glace from D’Artagnan

Sauté the flour in the butter till medium brown. Add the rest and cook on low for 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour — till thickened. Keep watch lest it go too far. Strain and use.

•Quick Version of Espagnole Sauce

4 T butter
4 T Flour
3 T diced carrot
3 T diced onion
3 T bacon
2 c stock
1 t thyme
piece of bay leaf
2 T white wine
1/4 c demi-glace from D’Artagnan
2 T tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the flour and butter till it is a medium brown on a medium flame –– stirring all the time.

Add the vegetables, ham and bacon and stir. Slowly add the stock, wine and demi-glace. Cook over a low flame for 45 minutes and add the tomato sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes and strain, pressing hard on the solids. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Save the rest for other uses. It is an invaluable addition to sauces. Freeze it in small portions. Quickest and easiest is to put it in ice-cube trays in 1 T portions and store them in a baggy in the freezer. Then it’s a breeze to use.

Saucy Series, Part VII: Sauce Béarnaise

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Béarnaise

One of the most ostentatious parties of the 19th century was the Bradley-Martin Ball. It was noted that some the costumes cost more than a worker made in their lives (although Mrs. Martin noted that she arranged the party on short notice, so costumes would be made in New York and not Europe so as to employ out-of-work garment workers). Clergy gave sermons about the excesses causing some guests to bow out.

bradley martin not as many-MENU

The menu was elegant and had Filet de Boeuf Jardinière as one of its show-stopping dishes. It was a huge favorite during the gilded age and meant to impress. Aside from beef and vegetables, it always had a sauce Béarnaise to spoon over the delicious beef.

filet of beef jardiniereengraving copy

Ah Béarnaise sauce –– as part of my sauce series, Béarnaise is one of Escoffier’s mother sauces (that I wrote about HERE). History says the sauce was probably invented by Chef Collinet, for his restaurant Le Pavillon Henri IV (opened in 1836). Henri IV was from Béarn. It is essentially a hollandaise with shallots and tarragon that uses wine vinegar instead of lemon. It is fabulous with both beef and vegetables… if you add a bit of meat glaze to the sauce it becomes Sauce Foyot, very delicious with your beef. It’s also a breeze to make.

Although you can make the whole tenderloin, I decided that I would do little filets in the style and make cabbage cups of Béarnaise with the vegetables strewn about under the sauce. You can do an old style garnish if you wish ––cauliflower encased in gelée. It’s fun and delicious.

It doesn’t get better than this. Honestly, it can be ready in ½ an hour (if you don’t get fancy with the gelée).

19th century beef was much leaner than ours, so had to be larded. Not a problem today. I used D’Artagnan’s pasture-raised filet mignon –– a magnificent piece of meat. It has a buttery, cut-with-a-spoon texture and rich, deep flavor. Party like a plutocrat, you won’t be disappointed.

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Filet Mignon a la Jardiniére

serves 4

4 D’Artagnan’s pasture-raised filet mignon (6-8 oz each)
salt and course ground pepper to taste
2 T butter (or a bit of lard or bacon fat for the flavor of the original larding)
4 T demi-glace
4 t madeira
1 c cooked peas
1 c cooked green beans
2 cooked carrots, sliced into thin sticks
1 cup cooked cauliflower (plus another cup if you want to make the gelée)
4 small cooked onions
4 – 8 leaves of cooked cabbage cut to make small cups
*cauliflower in gelée garnish (optional)

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After cooking them, keep the vegetables warm.

Put the butter (or lard) in a hot pan (preferably cast iron). Salt and pepper the meat. Brown on top and bottom and on the sides, if the meat is very thick. It will be rare when you are done with this. Cook a few minutes longer if you want it medium-rare. Tent and let rest for 5 minutes. Warm the demi-glace and madeira and pour over the meat.

Place the vegetables on the plate and put the cabbage leaf like a cup. Add some Béarnaise to the cup, place the cauliflower gelée and the meat.

Béarnaise Sauce

8 T butter
2 egg yolks
1 shallot, minced
pinch of nutmeg
1 – 2 t chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 c white wine vinegar (tarragon vinegar if you have it) plus 1-2 T
salt and pepper

Put the shallots in a heavy pan if you have it with 1/4 c vinegar and a pinch of pepper and reduce till nearly dry. Let cool.

Add the egg yolks, stirring to blend and put on low heat. Add a few tablespoons of butter and stir to dissolve, removing from the heat from time to time and continue adding butter till all of it is used up. Never let it get too hot or it will separate. Just enough to melt the butter. Add the remaining vinegar to taste and salt and pepper and the chopped tarragon.

You can add a bit of the meat glaze from the beef when you have finished cooking it if you would like. Keep warm. If you need to reheat it, do it gently, it will separate if it gets too hot.

Gelée

3 cups stock
3 envelopes gelatin
2 egg whites and shells, crushed
3 T tomato, chopped
dark green top of 1 leek, chopped
1 sprigs parsley
1/3 c chopped celery leaves
a few slices of carrot
salt and pepper to taste

Put 1 cup of stock in a pot. Add 3 envelopes of gelatin to the stock and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the solids and egg whites and shells and add the stock. Bring to a heavy boil then immediately turn down to a low simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through double thickness of WET cheesecloth… DO NOT PRESS ON SOLIDS!!!! Let it drip slowly and you will have perfectly clear, golden stock. You can make it before you need it and refrigerate, just warm it to return it to a liquid state. It freezes beautifully

Put thin slices of cooked cauliflower in a dish of choice and pour the warm gelée over it. refrigerate and serve as a garnish. It is very forgiving. If you don’t like the way it looks in the gelée, just warm and start over.

Saucy Series, Part VI: Sauce Cameline

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Cameline

Sauce Cameline was like the ketchup and barbeque sauce of the Middle Ages. It was a cinnamon-y bread and vinegar sauce that was so popular it was actually purchased at a store. I read in the 14th century Le Mangier de Paris “At the sauce-makers, three half-pints of cameline for dinner and supper…”

forme of cury carmalyne1

He also gives a recipe for it in the book:

“CAMELINE. Note that at Tournais, to make cameline, they grind together ginger, cinnamon and saffron and half a nutmeg: soak in wine, then take out of the mortar; then have white bread crumbs, not toasted, moistened with cold water and grind in the mortar, soak in wine and strain, then boil it all, and lastly add red sugar: and this is winter cameline. And in summer they make it the same way, but it is not boiled.

And in truth, for my taste, the winter sort is good, but the following is much better: grind a little ginger with lots of cinnamon, then take it out, and have lots of toasted bread or bread-crumbs in vinegar, ground and strained.”

Another famous 14th Century cookbook, The Forme of Cury had it as well:

Take currants, meat of nuts, crusts of bread and powdered ginger, cloves, ground cinnamon, pound it well together and add thereto salt temper it up with vinegar and mess forth.

The great Taillevent’s 13th century Le Viandier also had an even earlier recipe:

Take ginger, plenty of cassia, cloves, grains of paradise, mastic, thyme and long pepper (if you wish). Sieve bread soaked in vinegar, strain and salt to taste.

I decided to combine a few recipes and make squab with Cameline Sauce.

It is delicious and tangy, and you will get an idea what it was like to eat in the Middle Ages, not too shabby at all!

Cameline 3
Squab with Cameline Sauce

4 cooked squab –  (see recipe)
1 recipe Cameline Sauce (see recipe)
garnish (I used frisee & parsley)
Place the squabs on the platter with garnish and serve with the sauce

Cameline 4

Cameline Sauce

1- 2 slices bread, crusts removed and well-toasted (about 7″ x 3″, 3/4″ thick)
1 c red wine*
1/4 to 1/3 c red wine vinegar*
2 T currants soaked in 4 T water till plump and soft
2-3 t sugar
1 T blanched almonds (optional)
2 t – 2 T cinnamon to taste (I used 1½ T)
1/2 t – 2 t ginger (I used 1t)
1/2 t ground grains of paradise (optional)
Healthy pinch of cloves, nutmeg
Pinch of ground mastic (optional – if you use it remember is it very powerful so use sparingly)
1/2 t thyme
pinch saffron (in 1 T warm red wine)
salt and pepper to taste (if you have long pepper, grind 1 in a spice grinder and add to taste, otherwise use black pepper)

Cameline 1

Bread with wine and vinegar

Cameline 2

Bread after soaking an hour

Soak the bread in the wine and vinegar for an hour till mush. Grind the almonds if you are using them, then put in bread and soaking liquid in a blender or processor and puree. Add the spices to taste (especially the cinnamon — most recipes ask for a lot of it, but you may want less – if you use less, add less ginger). At this point you can press through a strainer for a finer texture or not, mine did not, it was smooth as silk.

*You may need to add more wine and vinegar if the sauce is too stiff –– mine was not. You may want to play with the proportions for the tang you like. It will have the texture of ketchup.

To Cook the Squab

4 squab
2 large carrots, cut into 4-6 sticks each
1 T oil
salt and pepper (you can use ground long pepper and grains of paradise if you have them)

1. Pre-heat oven to 500º. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven and heat for at least 15 minutes.

2. Season the squabs inside and out with salt and pepper. Oil the carrot sticks.

3. Remove the skillet from the oven and place the carrot sticks in the pan and the squab on top (to keeps the bottom of the bird from burning and they are delicious to eat afterwards – a Ming Tsai technique). Roast from 15 to 18 minutes till the squab reaches 120º interior temperature – you don’t want squab done to death –– medium-rare to medium is good. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Saucy Series Part V: Sauce Robert

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Robert

Sauce Robert is one of the ancient sauces. Mentioned in literature and dating from at least the 15th century, it remained popular right through to the 19th century (although you can still buy bottled Sauce Robert, it is nothing like the original).

VARENNE-Portrait-nw

La Varenne

The sauce is used brilliantly in the 17th century by the legendary cook La Varenne in a dish made with pork (you can read more about the history HERE.) This is no surprise since the sweet and sour oniony mustard sauce is a perfect accompaniment to pork.

Although the original was made with the whole loin, I decided that I would use D’Artagnan’s tenderloin for this recipe since I love the texture. Also, D’Artagnan’s Berkshire Pork has such a full flavor, unlike any supermarket tenderloin you are used to. It’s great pork, and the careful way it was raised can be tasted. Since it cooks quickly, a meal fit for a king can be ready in no time. Cooking the onions slowly is the longest step.

sauce robert 3

Pork Tenderloin with Sauce Robert, serves 4

2 pork tenderloins
1 T lard or butter
1 large onion chopped
2 T butter
½ t salt and ½ t pepper*
pinch ground cloves
¾ c verjuice ** + ¼ c white wine vinegar OR ½ c white wine and ½ c white wine vinegar
2 small bunches sage leaves
½ c demi-glace
2 T grainy mustard

1. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions and one of the sage bunches. Cook at low heat for about ½ an hour till soft and sweet, stirring regularly.

2. Preheat oven to 425º.

3. Put the lard or butter in the heated pan, salt and pepper the tenderloins, put in the skillet and brown the meat over high heat for a minute or two on each side. Put them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145º. Remove from the oven and tent while you finish the sauce.

4. Remove the sage, add the verjuice and vinegar and begin reducing over medium-low heat. Add the demi-glace and stir till you have a thick sauce. Pour any juices from the pan (after removing excess fat) and pour any accumulated juices from the plate into the sauce. Add the salt and pepper and cloves.

5. Taste for seasoning and then add the mustard. Serve with the sliced tenderloin garnished with the rest of the sage.

*originally long peppers and grains of paradise would be used…they are great so use them if you can get them.

** verjuice is vinegar-like but milder and absolutely delicious –– refrigerate after opening

A Saucy Series, Part III: Sauce Chasseur

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Chasseur

When the Kennedys came into the White House the quality of the food served there went from 0 to 60.  Instead of cooks and caterers Jacqueline Kennedy hired French Chef René Verdon. As you might imagine, he played an important role in bringing French cuisine to America.

jfk & chef rene verdon

JFK and Chef Rene Verdon.

One of the most famous dinners of the administration was held in 1961. Instead of serving a state dinner at the White House, an elegant tent was erected at Mount Vernon and the meal was an enormous success.

There was avocado and crabmeat mimosa, a wonderful rice dish and raspberries with crème Chantilly.  The main course was Poulet Chasseur.

Sauce Chasseur JFK 3 mt vernon dinner

A view of Mount Vernon from the beautiful tent.

As part of my sauce series, Sauce Chasseur is made with French tomato sauce, one of the mother sauces of the 19th century that differs from Italian sauce in that it has flour and stock in the mix and is slow cooked with a ham knuckle or trotter.  This addition gives the Sauce Tomate a velvety texture that is perfect for the elegant dish.  I decided to use guinea hen instead of chicken for a deeper flavor.  If you’ve never tried it, guinea hen is a great bird… sort of a cross between chicken and pheasant.  I think when you try it you’ll see why everyone wanted a seat at the Kennedy table.  The food and the company were superb.

Escoffier Sauce Chasseur

6 medium mushrooms
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 t minced shallots
1 c white wine
2 oz brandy
½ c tomato sauce*
1 c demi-glace
1 T meat glaze (Boil 1/2 c stock till reduced to a thick glaze – pay attention to it – it goes from glaze to burn quickly at the end; a non-stick pan is perfect for doing this.)

Peel and mince the mushrooms, heat ½ oz butter and olive oil.  Fry mushrooms till slightly browned.  Add t of minced shallots and remove half the butter.  Pour 1 c white wine and 1 glass of brandy; reduce by half and finish with tomato sauce, 1 c demi-glace and 1 T meat glaze boil 5 minutes or until it is thickened slightly. Strain and reserve. You will have 1 cup of sauce.

*Tomato sauce

1 large can tomato puree (I used Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes)
1 strip bacon, chopped
small piece ham knuckle or trotter with bone or piece of ham with bone – about the size of a child’s fist
3 T carrot, chopped small
3 T onion, chopped small
bouquet garni
small clove of garlic
1 T butter (the bacon will give up about 1 T of fat, add more butter to make 2 T fat)
2 T flour
1  t salt
1 t sugar
pinch pepper
1 c stock

Cook bacon in butter, sprinkle with flour, add tomatoes and veg and ham and stock.  Boil and cook over low heat for 2 – 3 hours, stirring frequently (it will scorch a little). Take out bouquet and ham and strain, pressing on the solids. Whisk till smooth.

sauce chasseur 3

Escoffier’s Guinea Hen Chasseur 

The guinea hen will serve 2 – 4, a chicken will serve 4 – 6

guinea hen or a 3-1/2 lb chicken cut into serving pieces (breasts without bone, legs, thighs and wings –reserve back and breast bone for stock) or 4 breast or 8 thigh pieces
salt and pepper
1 T butter
1T olive oil
¼ c white wine
1 T cognac
1 c chasseur sauce
8 sliced mushrooms ( I used shitakes and chanterelles)
chopped parsley (tarragon and chervil are nice too but optional)

Salt and pepper the meat and brown it well in equal quantities of butter and oil. Cook at medium heat until cooked through.  Cook the breast meat less than the rest of the meat. Place on a dish and cover.  Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining fat.

Pour out the fat. Swirl the saucepan with white wine and cognac and reduce.  Put the chicken back in the pan and toss with mushrooms, pour chasseur sauce over the meat and sprinkle with herbs.

Couronne de Riz Clamart

Based on recipe from Kennedy’s social secretary Letitia Baldrige, 6 servings

2 tsp butter
1/2 cup each finely chopped red and green pepper
 (I used 1 poblano pepper)
3 cups cooked long grain white (or brown) rice
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 (I think 1/2 c is better)
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 plum tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped (I used about 8 un-peeled cherry tomatoes since they have flavor at this time of year)
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 cup baby peas

In skillet, melt half the butter over medium-high heat. Add peppers, cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Reserve.

In bowl, gently stir together rice, eggs, Parmesan cheese, chicken stock and parsley.

Stir in peppers, tomato, salt and pepper.

Spoon rice mixture into generously buttered 1 quart round tube mold or Bundt pan, packing down gently with spoon (I used a copper mold and put ramkins in the center since I wanted a taller shape!)

Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let stand for 2 minutes.

Invert over serving platter over top of mold and turn out rice mixture.

Toss peas with remaining butter, spoon into center of rice ring.

A Saucy Series, Part I: Espagnole

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Holy Mother of Sauces
Lots of people are a bit afraid of French sauces because they think they are too complicated and not worth the effort.  I think they are so wrong. Take a little time on a weekend to make the great base, Sauce Espagnole, and then you are good to go for so many sauces that are made from it; Bourguignonne, Champignon, Bigarade and a million others come from Espagnole, and can be used on all varieties of meat, fowl and game. I make a batch of Espagnole and freeze it in 1 cup bags so I can make a “fancy” dinner in no time, even on a weeknight. I have even come up with a shortcut to Espagnole that is a winner. If you want a more classic, long version of Espagnole Sauce with some history of “Mother Sauces,” visit my blog.

Sauce Chevreuil is a brown sauce made with Espagnole; adding port and currant jelly makes it perfect on venison, beef or even duck (try it on duck breast). It really is finger-licking good with a silky texture that will make you fall in love with it.

If you make the sauces in advance, you can do a dinner like this in no time at all…don’t forget the Stilton Mashed Potatoes, they are so good!

Deana Sidney Venison with Chevreuil Sauce

Deana Sidney’s Venison with Chevreuil Sauce and Stilton Mashed Potatoes

Quick Version of Espagnole Sauce

4 T butter
4 T flour
3 T diced carrot
3 T diced onion
3 T bacon
2 c stock
1 t thyme
piece of bay leaf
2 T white wine
1/4 c demi-glace
2 T tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Melt your butter and add the flour on a low to medium flame.  Stir regularly until the mixture turns a medium brown… kind of a medium caramel color.   Don’t let it get too dark.  This takes 5-10 minutes.

Add the vegetables, ham and bacon to the roux and stir.  Slowly add the stock, wine and demi-glace.  Cook over a low flame for 45 minutes and add the tomato sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes and strain, pressing on the solids.  Add salt and pepper to taste

To make a brown roux, melt your butter and add the flour on a low to medium flame.  Stir regularly until the mixture turns a medium brown… kind of a medium caramel color.  Remove from the stove and use.  Don’t let it get too dark.  This takes 5-10 minutes.

Chevreuil Sauce (an amalgam of many recipes)

1 T butter
2 T chopped shallot
2 T ham
any venison trimmings you may have (optional)
2 chopped mushrooms
bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay and sage tied up)
¼ c wine vinegar
1 c Espagnole
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 mashed anchovy
1 c   demi-glace or stock
3 oz port
1 T red currant jelly
pinch of cayenne

Sauté the shallot, ham, venison trimmings and mushrooms in the butter till softened.  Toss in the bouquet garni and add the vinegar.  Reduce till syrupy and add the Espagnole, stock, Worcestershire, and anchovy.  Cook for ½ an hour at low heat or till thickened. Strain, pressing on the solids and add the red currant jelly, port and cayenne.

Boneless Venison Steak for 2

2 venison steaks or tenderloin  (4 – 6 oz each serving)
salt and pepper
2 T butter
3-4 chanterelle and/or shitake mushrooms, sliced

Heat oven 400º

Heat a cast iron skillet till hot. Salt and pepper the steak. Put in the butter to melt and add the mushrooms and steak.  Sear on one side and then the other, stirring the mushrooms as you do.

Flip and put in a 400º oven for 5 minutes for rare.

Remove from oven and put the meat on a plate and tent for 5 minutes.  Take the mushrooms and add the Chevreuil Sauce to warm.  Pour over the meat and serve.

Note: if you use beef filet, the technique is the same

Stilton Mashed potatoes for 2

6 blue potatoes peeled or unpeeled
2 T butter
½ c milk
¼ cup crumbled stilton or to taste
pinch of mace
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until tender and drain.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mash.

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