Our meals would be a lot dryer and duller without sauces, wouldn't they? Can you imagine a carbonara without the creamy sauce? We certainly can't. A beef bourguignon without the deep red wine sauce? Forget about it. Sauces make the meal. However, we understand that it's not always easy to make a delicious sauce. In fact, making sauces from scratch can seem pretty overwhelming, even to an experienced cook.
But worry not - if you've got a dinner party coming up or simply want to improve your cooking, we're here to help you shine in the sauce department. Whether you want to make your sauces thicker, tastier, or just a little more exciting, we've put together this guide full of tips on how to do it. Simply read on to find out how to make delicious sauces and remember to check out the Zyliss Ultimate Nonstick Saucepan because you can't be an excellent chef without excellent tools.
Make your own stock if possible
Buying little stock pots from the store may be simpler, but making your own stock is a guaranteed way to make your sauces taste fresher and more authentic. Luckily for all keen chefs, doing this isn't as complicated as it sounds. Whenever you cook, make sure you save all your meat and vegetable scraps because these will allow you to make a great stock. You simply have to cover the scraps in water, add a pinch of salt, boil it all at a simmer for around one to four hours, and voilà - you'll have a homemade stock that will instantly improve your sauces.
However, this won't just make your sauces taste better, it'll also make them healthier because you can control the amount of salt that goes in them. This is especially beneficial if you find the flavor of shop-bought stock pots a little overpowering or are following a low-sodium diet. Making your own stock is also a great way to cut down on waste because you'll use up all your scraps. Delicious and eco-friendly, what more could you want?
Use good quality, fresh ingredients
This probably goes without saying, but using good quality, fresh ingredients is essential when you're making delicious sauces. For example, when you're making meatballs in tomato sauce, you'll want a sauce with the freshest, plumpest tomatoes you can find to maximize flavor. Similarly, if you're making a cheese sauce, make sure you buy a good quality, strong cheddar to make sure the sauce is bright and vibrant. Zyliss Cheese Tools can be used once you've selected your preferred cheese.
Thickening sauce with starch
A common and easy way to thicken sauce is with a starch, such as cornstarch or wheat starch. As well as making it thicker, using starch will make your sauce clearer by preventing it from getting cloudy, which is a big benefit if you want your sauce to look as appealing as possible.
To thicken your sauce with starch, simply add it in while you cook - for every 200ml of liquid, you'll usually need to add one tablespoon of starch. However, if you want your sauce thicker, you may want to add a little more and if you want it thinner, you'll want to add less.
As an additional bonus, most starch is gluten free, so one big advantage of using it to thicken sauces is that it'll be suitable for any friends or family members who are gluten intolerant. Just make sure you check the package beforehand to be on the safe side.
Thickening sauce without starch
The most common way to thicken sauce without starch is with flour, which has the wonderful ability to make sauces creamy and velvety. It's usually advised that you add two teaspoons of flour to every liter of liquid, but you can always add more flour if you want to make your sauce extra-creamy.
An easy way to make a sauce creamy with flour is to create a flour slurry. To do this, simply put an equal amount of flour and cold water in a cup and stir until smooth. Once you have a smooth flour slurry, you should add it to the sauce and then cook them together for a few minutes to make your sauce nice and thick.
You can also use flour to create a roux, a mixture which consists of equal quantities of flour and melted butter. This is then used to thicken rich sauces such as the ultra-creamy béchamel sauce - perfect for comfort foods like hearty lasagnas and warming pasta dishes.
Another way you can thicken sauces is with tomato paste, which will also give any sauce a great burst of color and flavor. However, the aforementioned color and flavor makes it rather unsuitable for dairy-based or white sauces, so this isn't as versatile an option as flour.
You know those pesky bits of food that hang around at the bottom of your frying pans after you've finished cooking? They can actually be put to good use by serving as the key ingredients in a pan sauce.
After sauteing or frying meat, fish, veggies, or anything else, leave the remains at the bottom of the pan. You can then add wine, cider, or broth to deglaze all the scraps before adding butter and flour to turn it into a rich, creamy pan sauce that will make your taste buds sing. This type of sauce goes best with meat, so if you're a big meat fan, you'll definitely want to master it.
When making this sauce, we recommend using a sturdy, high-quality frying pan that will be big enough to accommodate all the ingredients and easy to clean. The Zyliss Store offers a great range of Zyliss Frying Pans that are perfect, so you'll easily find a great one here.Buy the saucepan now.