A couple of weeks ago I wrote about John calling me the Saucier. He thinks it’s funny, but it seems to be a name that is sticking around here. John, our family, and my friends all have raved about my sauces over the years. I still think it is comical that I am becoming the go-to sauce person when in the beginning of my culinary awareness I so disliked sauces. Now I have become enamored with not only the taste but also how you can reduce, manipulate, and create a variety of complex notes and textures into liquid culinary pleasure. Short version: I simply have a knack for sauces.
I have since realized, just like salt and pepper, sauce can be a flavor enhancement to take your dish to the next level of tantalizing deliciousness. Have a piece of steak you don’t know what to do with? Make a cognac sauce or barbeque sauce to bring up the level of flavor in your meat. Got some steamed rice? Why eat the dull, plain, sometimes sticky concoction and refresh your taste buds with a soy and chili sauce. Or reduce chicken stock and white wine, add a little olive oil and chili flakes to give your rice a boost.
I will time from time give out a recipe for these culinary enhancements. Some potions come directly from my creative juices, and some that I have adapted over the years from recipes that I gladly give kudos.
Recently I made my Ground Beef and Mushroom Stuffed Pastry. I served these little packages on a plate with a tiny bowl filled with Madeira Sauce. The guests could either pour the liquid on their packages or just use the sauce as a dip. What a wonderful enhancement to the packages with the fragrance of wine and herbs coming from the steam and richness of the demi-glace.
As you can see I used Glace de Veau for my demi-glace. I think it is one of the best prepared demi-glace in my area. I put it in this version of sauce to make it easier for those who do not have the time to make their own demi-glace. Let’s face it; although making your own demi-glace is a taste sensation and gives you a sense of accomplishment, it is a true labor of love and gives you a lesson in patience. When making your own demi-glace, I recommend Emeril Lagasse’s version from the Food Network. In my opinion the recipe is spot on. And if you follow the directions exactly and remain patient you do end up with a luscious brown brew that will enhance a sauce you have a mind to create.
Adapted from Glace de Veau
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 Celery, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Shallots, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ cup Madeira Wine
4 oz Demi-Glace (Glace de Veau)
Sprig of Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sauté carrot, celery and shallots in 1 tablespoon of butter. When soft and translucent, add wine. Simmer until reduced by half. Add Demi-Glace and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through cheese cloth. Before serving stir in 1 tablespoon of butter for flavor.