Types of Stocks and Sauces

Written by samantha belyeu
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  • Introduction

    Types of Stocks and Sauces

    Stocks and sauces offer a variety of texture and flavour to the foods they're served with. They contrast or complement a dish, add visual interest, or just add moisture. Pairing a stock type with the proper sauce or using a sauce variety with the proper dish adds depth and flavour to a meal.

    Hollandaise sauce on asparagus and shrimp (garnelen mit grünem spargel und hollandaise image by Svenja98 from Fotolia.com)

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    Brown Stock

    Bones (typically veal bones) are roasted with vegetables, tomato paste or sauce and spices and then simmered to create brown stock. The vegetables are generally mirepoix, which is a mixture of onions, celery and carrots. Brown stock can be reduced to make glace de viande; it can be the foundation for soups, sauces and braises, or it can be used to add flavour to a wide variety of dishes.

    Stocks can add zest to soups and stews. (Hungarian soup image by Ragne Kabanova from Fotolia.com)

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    White Stock

    Chicken bones, spices and mirepoix make up this type of stock, but they are not roasted. Beef bones, veal bones or fish bones can also be used. No tomato product is used, and the carrots of the mirepoix are replaced with parsnips. This ensures a pale-coloured stock. Use white stock in white sauces, soup, gravy and rice dishes.

    White root vegetables are used in place of orange carrots to keep white stock pale in colour. (white roots of parsley image by rafalwit from Fotolia.com)

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    Vegetable Stock

    If a stock is made with no meat or bones, it is considered a vegetable stock. Raw or roasted vegetables are boiled down, and the stock is used for vegetarian or vegan dishes, soups and sauces.

    Vegetables are boiled down to make vegetable stock. (vegetable soup image by kuhar from Fotolia.com)

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    Brown Sauce

    Brown sauces are made from brown stock. Espagnole is a strong, heavily reduced sauce made with roux, brown stock and tomatoes. Demi-glace is made from espagnole reduced with more brown stock, and can be used as a base for other sauces, such as bordelaise , or to flavour red meat dishes. Brown gravies combine roux and brown stock, and are paired with meat dishes.

    The strong flavour of brown sauces make them ideal for flavourful meats. (meat with vegetable image by Leonid Nyshko from Fotolia.com)

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    White Sauce

    Béchamel, mornay and white gravy all combine roux and milk or cream. Add a strong cheese to béchamel to complete a mornay sauce. Velouté combines roux with white stock to create a velvety sauce that can be used on poultry, seafood dishes, or as a base for other sauces, such as allemande, suprême and venetian sauces.

    White sauces can add a velvety texture to meat dishes. (tête de veau image by reynald lassire from Fotolia.com)

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    Emulsified Sauce

    Egg yolk and butter are emulsified at a very low temperature to make the classic French sauce, hollandaise. Because of its light flavour, it is paired with eggs or vegetables. Adding a reduction of vinegar, shallots, chervil and tarragon to hollandaise produces Béarnaise This sauce is traditionally used on steaks. Oil is whisked into egg whites with lemon or vinegar and other spices to form mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is used on everything from sandwiches to salads, and can also be used as a base for other sauces.

    Mayonnaise gives tuna salad a creamy texture and softens the flavour. (Food For Health image by valleymiss from Fotolia.com)

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