Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – The 5 Mother Sauces.

Sauces can make or break a dish…

I love a good sauce over vegetables, meat or fish and they don’t all have to be calorie laden or made with cream and more cream although I love a good cream and wine sauce with some mushrooms.

A basic sauce is generally used to make other variations of the original sauce. The French take credit for initially perfecting what is now universally recognised and categorised into one of the 5 groups of sauces and any chef who is classically trained will be taught to perfect these sauces…

I am self taught and learnt much at my mother’s knee but I can make a mean sauce or three.

A good restaurant will prepare the basic sauce in large batches to use as a foundation to make individual servings that are seasoned and flavoured separately but using one of the 5 mother sauces as the base.

4 out of the 5 sauces are made using a roux and the 5th is an emulsion.

To get you started, here is a short video that shows you how to make the perfect roux for soups and sauces.

What are the 5 Mother sauces?

A) Brown (demi- glaze) or Espagnole are a sauce that are brown stock based a few examples are Chasseur, Diane, Madeira, Mushroom or Tarragon of course there are others in this group but for a home cook like me who likes simple these are what I would make unless of course I received a lovely bottle of Bordelaise and that would be my piece de resistance and a rare treat…

To make a basic brown sauce you will need:


• 1 bay leaf
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 3 to 4 fresh parsley stems
• 7 to 8 whole black peppercorns
• 1 ounce clarified butter
• 1/2 cup onions (diced)
• 1/4 cup carrots (diced)
• 1/4 cup celery (diced)
• 1-ounce all-purpose flour
• 3 cups brown stock
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée

Let’s Cook!

  • Fold the bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems, and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and tie the corners with a piece of kitchen twine. Leave the string long enough so that you can tie it to the handle of your pot to make it easier to retrieve it.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy.
  • Add the mirepoix and sauté for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned. Don’t let it burn, though.

Cooks tip: A mirepoix is mix of small diced vegetables in this case onions, celery and carrots.

  • With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the mirepoix a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated and forms a thick paste (this is your roux).
  • Lower the heat and cook the roux for another 5 minutes or so, until it just starts to take on a very light brown colour. Don’t let it burn, though!
  • Using a wire whisk slowly add the stock and tomato purée to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat; add the sachet and simmer for about 50 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.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and retrieve the sachet.
  • For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

If you won’t be serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Otherwise, serve hot and enjoy!

From this basic brown sauce you would then make your mushroom sauce by adding saute mushrooms and garlic and additional seasoning as required.

B) Veloute are sauces made with a white stock and a roux such as Supreme ala Chicken Supreme, Allemande or a white Bordelaise.

To make a Chicken supreme for example you would add crispy fried bacon, garlic and some cream poured over a frilled chicken breast.

C) Béchamel are made with a roux and milk such as a Mornay or Crème
Lovely over a piece of lightly poached sole…

D) Red or tomato sauces such as Spaghetti, Marinara sauce and also a variety of tomato sauces.

I think everyone loves a spag bol…Don’t you? I always use fresh tomatoes as they are plentiful here and I don’t buy tinned for health reasons…leaching etc… Some people put their tomatoes in hot water and then cold to remove the skins I don’t it all goes in the blender …


• 12-14 fresh tomatoes…blitzed
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 large onion chopped
• 8 oz fresh, mushrooms chopped
• 2 tsp Worcester sauce
• 6 cloves garlic chopped
• 10-12 basil leaves chopped
• 1 tbsp oregano finely chopped
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
• 1-2 tsp black pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they become soft and transparent.
  • Add mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add Worcester sauce and garlic and continue to cook until mushrooms become soft.
  • Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for at least one hour. The longer the better! Ideally 2 hours you will now have a nice rich tomato sauce to make your spaghetti Bolognese.
  • This sauce can be frozen in portions and used as required.
  • To make the Bolognese then cook some ground beef in olive oil and add your tomato sauce cook for about 20mins until the beef is cooked adjust your seasoning.
  • Serve with spaghetti noodles of your choice, parmesan cheese and garlic bread.

E) Emulsions such as Hollandaise or Mayonnaises.

Goan Mayonnaise Ingredients

• 1 egg
• ½ cup of oil
• 1/8 th tsp white pepper
• 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
• ¼ tsp sugar
• Salt to season

Let’s Cook!

Mix together all the ingredients in your blender except for the oil then add the oil at a drizzle a little at time and then blend for a minute or two until mayo thickens…Season to taste.

This would be the base sauce for a Goan fish dish to which flaked pureed fish and fish stock is added to the mayo and it is then brushed all over and inside a scaled and cleaned fish and then wrapped in foil and baked…

A dish cooked by a Goan friend of mine unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures unless you count what was left …lol

How many of these sauces do you make or know?

I was surprised that knew more than what I thought, when I first heard a chef talk about mother sauces a few years ago….I was like what?

But I suppose classical is a little like home cooking just a bit posher, but my mum cooked plain simple food, and as I grew older, I would make that basic sauce as she taught me, and add to it…

Easy when you know how isn’t it…Cooking demystified…

I am practising mine whenever I can just in case I get an invite for Masterchef…lol

Until next time…Thank you for reading this post…

©Carol Taylor 2018

The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory:

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

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My thanks to Carol for her hard work in putting these posts together. I am learning a great deal from her. She ran a successful catering business for many years and we join all her many satisfied customers.