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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.

A Saucy Series, Part IV: Blanquette de Veau

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.

 Blanquette de Veau

When I think of the Paris of Hemingway and Picasso, I think of Blanquette de Veau. It was one of the first classic bistro dishes I had in Paris as a student.  Honestly, it was a disappointment because the veal wasn’t very good. I knew the dish had greatness in it and tried making it differently.

Blanquette de veau post

As part of my sauce series, Blanquette de Veau uses one of Careme’s mother sauces.

The Allemande is chicken stock-based velouté with egg, cream and lemon (also called a Sauce Blonde or Sauce Parisienne). With a sauce this luxurious I wanted a cut of veal that would be equal to the dish.  Instead of using traditional veal shoulder or neck cuts, I went for the tenderloin for my blanquette de veau and was over-the-moon with the results. A very light cooking resulted in soft pillows of tender veal in the beautiful sauce. In this recipe, you don’t brown anything, so it has a more delicate flavor.

Served with noodles or rice it will become a favorite.

All you have to do is make a few adjustments to get the flavors missed from not cooking the veal for a long time –– I think it’s worth it.

blanquette de veau 3

 Recipe: Blanquette de Veau

D’Artagnan veal tenderloin, about 2 ½ lbs., trimmed and cut into cubes and thoroughly rinsed before and after trimming *
1 pint pearl onions, peeled
2 T butter
6 c stock (veal or chicken)
Bouquet garni: 1 thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf, parsley stems, 6 peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, sliced and 3 cloves tied in cheesecloth or loose
1 celery stalk cut into sticks
1 large carrot, peeled & cut into thick sticks
1 small leek, sliced in half in 4” pieces
1 t coarse salt
4 T butter
5 T flour
2 T vermouth
2 T Cognac
1 container veal demi-glace
3 egg yolks
½ c heavy cream
2 c sliced mushrooms (I used a combination of crimini and shitake without stems but pure white mushrooms are the classic for this)
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley
chopped yellow celery tops (optional)

Take the veal cuttings, vegetables, bouquet garni and stock and put in a large pot (a wide-mouthed enamel cast iron pan is perfect).  Heat it and simmer on medium-low for 1½ hours, skimming and checking as you go.

While you are doing this, take ½ c of the stock from the pan and 2 T butter and simmer the onions covered for 10 minutes.  When they are nearly done remove the cover and reduce the liquid till it is syrupy.  Remove and reserve the onions and the glaze.

After 1½ hours, strain the stock, pressing on the solids and then discard the vegetables and meat bits. Add the demi-glace to the stock.  You should have around 4 cups.   You can do all of this the day before so that the dish comes together quickly before the meal.

Rinse the veal cubes again and add to the stock**.  Cook for about 15 minutes over very low heat… barely a simmer.  Check it –– you want it medium rare (you will need to heat it again when you add the egg and cream, that’s when you will finish cooking the veal).

When it’s done, remove the meat and strain the broth over a fine mesh.  Reserve 3¼ cup of the stock for the velouté.  Clean out the pan and place the meat and onions with the glaze in it.  Cover (you can do this the day before too, but I think veal is best the day it is cooked –– you can do the rest of the recipe earlier in the day and heat it gently if you would like.

Melt 4 T butter slowly, then add the flour and stir it in –– let it cook for a few minutes but do not let it brown.  Slowly add the stock, whisking. Add vermouth and cognac. Cook it over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add the sliced mushrooms tossed in the lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft.  This cooking is what helps give the sauce the beautiful texture… don’t rush it.

Remove 1 cup of the sauce without the mushrooms.  Whisk the egg yolks and cream together and add the reserved hot velouté.

Add this to the meat and onions and cook over a low heat, stirring gently.  Do not let it boil.  Keep the sauce below 180º or the egg will curdle (using a wide-mouthed casserole makes this easy). Just for the heck of it I checked the temperature of the veal cubes –– they seemed to be around 145º –– perfect medium.

When everything is heated though taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed, serve with noodles, rice or potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley and celery tops (I love the flavor of celery tops, originally, they were what was used and the bottoms were tossed!).

The dish re-heats successfully in the microwave too.blanquette de veau 1

* Alisha at D’Artagnan said she made this dish with veal cheeks.  I read up on them and found that about 4 pounds cleaned of silverskin would give you about the right amount.  They would cook for a few hours till tender (it may be 4 or 5 hours on a slow heat). You would skip my additional step.

 ** There are those who do not like the gray scum that veal can generate.  If that bothers you, put the veal in a skillet and cover with water.  Bring to a low boil for 2 minutes and then strain and rinse the veal.   I did not do this step since I was more into the texture and the cloudy stock didn’t seem important in the velouté.

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.

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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.

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