No, these are not the five sauces that your mother would make for you for dinner on a regular basis. Well, maybe they are, but that is not why they are called “The Mother Sauces.”
The Five Mother Sauces are the building blocks of French cooking. Four of them, the tomato, Béchamel, Veloute, and Espagnole were written about in the 19th century by famous French chef Marie-Antoine Carme, in his book L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise au Dix-NeuviemeSiecle. Hollandaise was added a short time later. Today, we are going to learn about the Mother Sauces
Bechamel – One of the most common places to find a versions of the Béchamel sauce, is in macaroni and cheese. Béchamel is a milk or cream based sauce thickened with roux. It has a smooth and rich flavor profile.
Veloute – Veloute is a white sauce typically made from fish or chicken stock, thickened with roux. The Veloute is an excellent vehicle for other flavors. It is used to make mushrooms sauces, or as a base for gravy.
Espagnole – Espagnole is a rich, densely flavored, dark, meaty sauce. To make a Espagnole, being with a mirepoix (which is a mix of veggies) and add beef stock and beef bones. Espanole is often enhanced with red wine and herbs. It goes very well with red meat or other rich dishes.
Tomato – Finally, a sauce you are already familiar with. In its most essential form, tomato sauce is simple reduced, thickened tomatoes. However, flavor is often added using onions, garlic, and herbs. Tomato sauce is versatile, adaptable, and likely one of the most used sauces in the world.
Hollandaise – You will usually find a Hollandaise sauce drizzled over Eggs Benedict. This sauce is pure richness and creamy flavor. The ingredients to a hollandaise are simple, just butter, egg yolk, and lemon. However, cooking the sauce can be quite difficult and requires patience and skill.