Velouté (prounounced "vuh-loo-TAY") is one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine, which means it's a starting point from which a number of sauces can be made, rather than a finished sauce itself. It's sort of like a blank coloring book — you start with the lines and shapes and then color it in any way you choose.
And since there are three types of white stock — chicken, veal and fish — there are likewise three types of velouté. But chicken is the most common.
One of the sauces that's derived from chickien velouté is called a suprême sauce, and it's made by finishing a veloute with cream, butter, and lemon juice. Supreme sauce is known as a secondary mother sauce because it can be served itself or used as the basis for still other sauce recipes.
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 oz clarified butter
- 1 oz all-purpose flour
- Heat the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
- Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the clarified butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Take care not to let it turn brown.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated, giving you a pale-yellow-colored paste called a roux. Heat the roux for another few minutes or so, until it has turned a light blond color. This helps cook off the raw flour flavor. But since this is a white sauce, you don't want to let the roux get too dark.
- Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot chicken stock to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it's free of lumps.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn't scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.
- The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it's too thick, whisk in a bit more hot stock until it's just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove the sauce from the heat. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.
- Keep the velouté covered until you're ready to use it.