Gravies And Sauces
( Originally Published 1904 )
These may be considered together because they are closely related. Gravies are really a kind of sauce. They are the cooked juice of meat, sometimes mixed with water and thickened with flour. They are either light or dark, 'according as the quantity of flour used is great or small. When gravy is to be thickened with flour, the simplest method is to first wet the flour with a little cold water and to rub it. up with. a spoon into a thin paste. More cold water is added until the liquid is thin enough to pour. Then it is. stirred rapidly into the requisite amount of boiling water, so that all of the starch grains in the flour will burst at once and evenly. If boiling water be used to mix the flour with at first, the grains of starch will be unevenly affected. Some will burst, others will not; those that do not will form lumps.
When a dark gravy is required, the flour is stirred into the meat juice in the pan and is allowed to brown sufficiently over the fire. If there is much fat with the juice, the gravy will brown very rapidly, because the fat, when boiling, is very much hotter than boiling water. The boiling point of fat is higher than that of water. For this reason the flour is cooked much more thoroughly than is the case when water is used.
Sauces are usually thought of as fruit preparations to be eaten with dessert; but the term is also properly applied to preparations of butter, eggs, and sugar, for puddings, and, indeed, to anything intended to give a relish to food. Meat juice, broth, fruit juice, cream; milk, water, may all be used in any combination in making a sauce.
Sauces are either white or brown, and, like gravies, may be of any consistency. They, too, are thickened with flour. In white sauces, the flour is cooked, but not browned.
THICKENINGS FOR SAUCES, GRAVIES, AND SOUPS
Much depends on the manner in which thick-, enings are made and blended with the dish in which they are used. They should always be perfectly smooth and of a rich, creamy consistency when added to the soup or sauce. If at all inclined to lumpiness, it is better to strain before attempting to combine them with the other ingredients; the time required to do this will be less than must be consumed in trying to make them smooth by after-beating or cooking.
If flour is mixed with an equal quantity of butter there is no difficulty in rubbing it smooth, and by stirring into it a small portion of the cool broth, soup, or sauce, then adding it to the boiling liquid and stirring briskly, the desired smoothness will result. Flour and butter sufficient for a week's use may be prepared before-hand, if it be kept in the refrigerator or some other cool place.
If brown thickening is required, the desired shade of color may be obtained by browning the flour and butter and cooking together until dark enough, stirring all the time, and taking care that it does not burn; or roux or caramel may easily be kept on hand for this purpose.
When eggs are to be used for thickening, they must be beaten very light and added very gradually to the sauce, and stirred briskly while it cooks just enough to thicken, but it must not be allowed to boil, for it is very likely to curdle. The -egg should always be added just before serving.
Whites of 2 eggs; 1 cupful sugar; 1 cupful milk, scalded; juice of 1 lemon.
Beat the whites of the eggs until foamy, but not stiff. Beat in the sugar, then the hot milk and lemon juice; serve hot.
BROWN SUGAR SAUCE
1 heaping tablespoonful butter; 2 tablespoonfuls flour; 1½ cupfuls boiling water; 1½ cupfuls brown sugar; 1/4 teaspoonful nutmeg or cinnamon.
Melt the butter, add the flour, cook and stir until smooth. Pour in the water gradually, and boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar, stir until it melts, sprinkle in the spice, and serve hot.
1 cupful sugar; 3 teaspoonfuls corn starch; 2 cupfuls boiling water; juice and grated rind of 1 lemon; 1 tablespoonful butter.
Mix the sugar and corn starch in a saucepan. Pour on the boiling water, stirring quickly, and boil and stir until the mixture is clear. When the sauce is to be served, stir in the rind, juice, and butter.
1/4 cupful butter; 1/4 teaspoonful nutmeg; I tablespoonful lemon or fruit juice; 1/2 cupful pulverized sugar.
Cream the butter, work in the sugar gradually, and add the flavoring. Serve with a hot pudding.