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Sauce Making - begin with the basics

sauce makingSauces are the perfect compliment to most prepared foods. You'll find that not only are they a perfect compliment to the foods you prepare but they can also be very time-consuming in the making. Most sauces have several involved steps in the process of reaching a desired taste and consistency.

There are a countless number of books that have been written about sauce making over the years. They go into great detail about the preparation of classical sauces and the more creative concoctions that la nouvelle cuisine has brought us over the last decade. One of the best books I've come across is Sauces, Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making by James Peterson, a bible for sauce preparation.

The Basics of Sauce Making

The techniques and combinations of ingredients for sauce making keeps changing and improving. We owe it to the French chefs who early on helped create and standardize the four mother sauces from which all other sauces are based.

You'll discover that many sauce recipes require a good stock as a base for sauce making. And you’ll find it’s probably the most time consuming ingredient used in any sauce. Short cuts are just not the same.

A rich and flavorful tasting stock takes hours to prepare. The process begins with shopping for bones and trimmings that usually need to be roasted in the oven. After the roasting process they then need to be cooked with water, herbs, seasonings, and wine. That requires long hours of cooking, reducing and more cooking. To make a really authentic stock or demi glace requires a preparation and cooking process time of 12 to 48 hours. A daunting and time-consuming task for most cooks to consider.

There’s No Need to Make Your Own

demi glace goldOne company, More Than Gourmet has made a tremendous impact on the cooking world. They’ve created a line of stocks and demi glace made the old fashioned way. They’ve spent long hours preparing and cooking in batches all the natural goodness and just the right ingredients needed to create a line of top quality demi glace and stocks. Originally created for and used by professional chefs and is now enjoyed by a growing number of home cooks, personal chefs and caterers.

James Petersen, author of the James Beard award-winning book Sauces says, "After tasting the product (More Than Gourmet Demi-Glace Gold) I was instantly converted."

Basic Rules to Consider

Here I've listed some basic rules to consider when planning your next menu and some important points that can either keep your guests clamoring for more or overwhelming their palates with too many flavors.

  • •  Review the menu to get an idea or theme for the meal you want to prepare.
  • •  Become familiar with the basic sauce cooking techniques and the interaction of the various ingredients for sauces you want to prepare.
  • •  Consider the colors, textures, flavors and styles when serving more than one sauce at a meal.
  • •  A basic sauce recipe is meant to encourage improvisation. Take full advantage of the opportunity.
  • •  Sauces should be appropriate for the season and for the occasion.
  • •  One sauce is adequate for a meal, two sauces are the ultimate, and three sauces can overwhelm the overall presentation.
  • •  Avoid strong flavored sauces at the beginning of a meal.
  • •  Try not to combine hot sauces with cold sauces on the same plate.
  • •  The sauces should be made to compliment one another.

I believe the most important idea to remember when you are cooking is that from these basic rules comes the freedom to try a variety of flavors, textures and colors. You're only limited by your own imagination.

Please be sure to try our fabulous recipes and professional line of More Than Gourmet demi glace and stocks. We carry four different demi glace and over twelve different stocks including fish, seafood/lobster, chicken, beef, veal, lamb, turkey, duck and more. They're simple, easy to use products that will add a natural richness and depth of flavor to all your favorite sauces, soups, stews, rice and pasta dishes, stir-fry, braising liquids and more.


This article was written by Jules Silver, webmaster of

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