Week 6: Veloute and Tomato Sauces

I had high hopes of being able to format the remaining mother sauces in one final post so sauces aren’t dragged on so long, but the last two sauces are rather complicated and I need a bit more time to put my thoughts on paper.  so I present to you, veloute and tomato sauces.  Both of these can be turned into multiple secondary and small sauces.  I challenge you to make a small sauce this week from veloute – get a little ‘gourmet’ in your kitchen and let me know how it goes!


Veloute is another of the five Mother Sauces made by thickening a flavorful stock with a roux. The veloute is velvety smooth. It can be used to make sauces, soups and all sorts of cuisine. The sauce is extremely versatile, no other sauce allows you to play and experiment with aromatics, herbs and spices and pastes.

Veloute is similar to bechamel sauce, but its made using stock instead of milk. In its most basic form its butter, flour and white stock (fish, chicken, vegetable or veal). This is usually made with a blonde roux which gives the sauce a subtle, nutty flavor. It can be used to compliment fish and poultry dishes, pot pies and chowders and many soups.

Start by making a roux, covered in week four. The thickness of a volute is varied based on how much roux to stock. You may prefer a blonde roux, which is cooked until the color of the flour and butter takes on a light golden brown and begins to smell nutty. This will impart slight color and flavor to your final veloute.

The usual formula for veloute is 4 oz. Blonde roux, and 1-1/4 quarts of white stock.

Temper your stock into the roux and bring to a simmer, whisking well. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the sauce has reduced to the point of coating the back of a spoon. If you are using a smaller amount of roux and stock you can cook for less time. You’ll know it’s done when it reaches the “nape” stage. When you dip a spoon into the sauce, the sauce should drizzle back into the sauce without staying on the surface. When stirring, there should be no lines following the spoon. You may add more stock at the end if you need to thin it out, but the reduced sauce should come to a quart of so. Strain the sauce if desired. Avoid seasoning, because a veloute is always used as a base for another sauce. Season once the desired flavor has been achieved with your end goal.

Tempering stock for veloute

Stock can be added hot, but more commonly its added cold. It’ll need to be tempered in that case. If you added cold roux all at once, the sauce could seize and become lumpy. To temper stock, just add a bit of stock at a time while constantly whisking. It will be very thick at the beginning. Let it come to a simmer before each addition. It wont fully thicken until it reaches a simmer, so check for a simmer before adding more stock until your desired consistency is reached.

Enriching veloute

For added body,

  • Swirl in a few knobs of cold butter or a bit of cream for extra richness and glossy color.

  • Or add liasion, an egg yolk and cream (3tb cream for every yolk, and temper into sauce).

  • Don’t boil or it will curdle proteins in yolks. Make sure to add them just before serving or sauce can split. If you plan to store in fridge, make sure to only store un-enriched base as an enriched base can split or curdle when reheated.

Storing veloute

Because it is stock based, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of hot veloute to prevent a skin from forming. Once cool and chilled, it will thicken quite a bit. To reheat, start with a small amount of water or white wine in a pot. Add cold veloute, stir, and bring back to a simmer before using.

Adding aromatics

To change flavor profile, many different aromatics can be used from basic to exotic. Basics like bacon and onion can be added to infuse sauce. Either add at beginning with butter or after stock has been added. Adding to butter and sweating will release more flavor and aroma.

Secondary made from Veloute: While I am providing recipes based on how these are classically prepared with specific veloute, you can use what you have on hand.

  • Sauce Vin Blanc (White Wine Sauce): Often used with fish or seafood. Heat 4 oz. Dry white wine and cook until reduced by half then add 1qt. Fish veloute. Bring to a simmer and cook until it coats the back of a spoon. Warm 4oz heavy cream and stir into your veloute. Before serving, stir in 1oz butter and season with salt, pepper and/or lemon juice to taste.

  • Sauce Supreme: Often served with delicately flavored poultry dishes. Because of the delicate nature of this sauce, be sure your chicken stock used to make the veloute is very flavorful. Heat 1 quart of chicken veloute and reduce by ¼. Add in 1c of warm heavy cream. Swirl in 1 oz butter then season with salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste.

  • Sauce Allemande: This is a simple sauce based on a veal veloute, used in meals with veal, poached chicken, vegetables or eggs. This sauce is made rich and thick with a liason and is a treat for your taste buds! Bring 1qt of veal veloute to a simmer and allow it to reduce by 1/4. In a separate bowl beat 2 egg yolks and 4 ounces of heavy cream together until creamy. Slowly add about a cup of the hot veloute into the liaison, whisking constantly to prevent the egg yolk from curdling in the hot liquid. Gradually whisk the warmed liaison back into the veloute. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for a few moments. Sesaon with salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste. Strain and serve.

Small Sauces:

  • Sauce Poulette: Simmer 8 ounces of white button mushrooms while making a quart of veloute (of your choice). Use this veloute to make sauce allemande, straining out mushrooms at the end. Finish with 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped parsley and lemon juice to taste.
  • Sauce Bercy: Reduce 1/2c of white wine by 2/3 while also cooking 2 ounces of chopped shallots in the wine. Add 1 quart of fish veloute, then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until reduced a bit. Remove from heat and swirl in 2 ounces of cold butter. Season with chopped, fresh parsley and lemon juice.
  • Sauce Normandy (fish and seafood): Bring 1qt fish veloute to a simmer. Add 4 ounces mushrooms and 4 ounches oyster liquid or fish fumet. Reduce by a third, then finish with a liaison of 4 egg yolks and 1c heavy cream. Remember, stir the yolks and cream together in a separate bowl. Add about a cup of hot liquid from the veloute to the egg yolk mixture and whisk constantly. Then slowly add that warmed liquid back to the sauce, whisking constantly. Return to a simmer, strain and swirl in 3 ounces of cold butter off the heat.
  • Sauce Aurora (eggs, vegetables or pasta): Heat 1qt of sauce supreme or sauce allemande, add 1c of tomato puree. Heat to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and serve.
  • Shrimp Sauce: Heat 1 quart of white wine sauce (vin blanc) to a simmer. Stir in ¼ lb. Shrimp butter, and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Cook for another minute. Add ¼ lb cooked, diced shrimp and cook until just heated through and serve.

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce is one of the most important mother sauces and is indispensable stable in kitchens across the world. From scratch tomato sauces are simply the best. You can make these ahead and freeze, or even can them. You will find hundreds of variations on how to make a basic tomato sauce. I will stick to a basic sauce here, so that you can use it as a base for another tomato sauce, such as spaghetti sauce. You can use raw or canned tomatoes. Choose a tomato that is sweet and developed for sauces.

Basic recipe for tomato sauce:

28 oz. Of canned toamtoes or roughly 3c wedged, undrained tomatoes

¼ c diced onion

1-2 cloves garlic, sliced

2tb quality tomato paste (sun dried puree or double concentrate are ideal)

Salt and pepper

A classic tomato sauce begins with finely diced onions. The onions are used sparingly as they are only there to add a subtle, underlying flavor. 1/4c onion per every 28oz. Diced tomatoes or about 3c quartered, undrained tomatoes. If you are using canned tomatoes, be sure the only ingredient listed is tomatoes. You don’t want pre-seasoned tomatoes.

If you are using raw tomatoes, you will begin by cooking the tomatoes. Quarter then and place them in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring them to a simmer and cook until they are soft, then set aside. Then proceed with the following directions.

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add onions, then a pinch of salt to help draw moisture from the onions. Stir frequently and cook gently until softened and have just turned golden color (not brown) This brings out a subtle sweetness. If they sizzle too hard or cook too long they can give off a bitter flavor which can overpower tomatoes. This process is called sweating.

Then add garlic. Slice the garlic, avoid mincing or pressing through a garlic press or it will impart a much stronger taste. Cook just until it softened without any color. Any browning will lend bitter flavor to the sauce.

Stir in about 2 tb paste to the onions for every 28 oz. Can of tomatoes. Its job is not to thicken the sauce but to add flavor. Gently cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the paste becomes a shade darker. Gives a deeper, sweeter flavor and cooks off the bitterness it may have.

The key great flavor is to remove the seeds. When cooked for a long time, seeds become bitter. This is why many sauce recipes call for sugar and strong herbs, to try and cover the bitterness of seeds. Use a food mill to remove seeds or slide your thumb through the tomato, over a strainer to collect seeds. Crush the tomatoes by hand for a rustic texture, or pulsed in a food processor for a smoother consistency. If you are using a can of diced tomatoes, you may wish to use a food mill which will remove seeds from the tomato and turn the diced tomatoes into a smooth puree.

Now, the seeded tomatoes are then added to the pot with a good pinch of salt. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Keep at a gentle simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook uncovered to allow evaporation. As the sauce cooks, the tomato solids will thicken and sink to the bottom. Stir often to prevent scorching as the solids sit on the bottom of the pot.

Note: If you wish to make your own tomato paste, you can cook plain tomatoes down like this over low heat until all that remains is a paste. You may wish to avoid the prior preparation with onions for tomato paste.

Once sauce has reduced, you can turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning. If using pepper, use sparingly. It is optional. To give Italian flair, add torn, fresh basil along with a splash of olive oil. By adding olive oil at the end instead of cooking it, it lends a fruity flavor and nice sheen. Sauce is ready to be used!

From here, you can go on to turn your basic tomato sauce into tomato soups, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, enchilada sauce, etc.

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