I had an innovative mom, a single mom and a mom on a rigid budget. This lead her to concoct her own versions of creamed tuna on toast, creamed peas on toast, creamed dried beef on toast, creamed corn on toast and the good old standby, creamed hamburger on toast. It was tremendously handy for her to have the “cream sauce confidence” to cream up most anything. It made dreary things seem more special and a lean meal seem more filling.
Cream sauces and white sauces have many names in all cultures. They are all combined using this easy GRAVY method, a skill easily learned and never anything to shy away from. We will use the terms “gravy and sauce” interchangeably, as their only difference is gravy which will be brown if you add Kitchen Boquet to it, and sauce, or white sauce, can be most any flavor, usually contains food items and is served over bed of something. Basically, both are a melted fat, or oil, and flour in equal amounts plus liquid.
Below is a modular recipe for a simplified gravy/sauce with lists of choices to vary it up.
We recommend you get a gravy whisk, then your gravies and sauces will never be lumpy. (See picture above.)
This is a basic white sauce recipe. Here’s all you do in a medium sized skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
Combine the following with whisk until smooth. Do this by making small circles on the base of the pan, forcing the ingredients into becoming smooth.
¼ cup flour (SEE THICKNERS LIST BELOW)
¼ cup melted fat or oil (SEE FATS LIST.)
Let simmer a minute, stirring.
Add 2 cups liquid (SEE LIQUID LIST)
Continue simmering and stirring until sauce is the thickness you want. If it gets too thick, add more liquid and stir well. Guard against letting it get too thin, but if you do, combine a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of oil, blend separately, then add to cooked sauce and stir vigorously until smooth once again. This may require a conventional whisk.
Stir in any combination of items you want in a sauce, choosing from the FLAVORING list.
Next stir in and simmer until heated any foods you may want from the ADDITIONS list.
If you are making plain gravy, you will, no doubt, serve it over cooked meat, potatoes and vegetables. If you have made a sauce, serve it over any of the items in the SERVE OVER list.
- Butter/margarine, melted
- Olive oil/vegetable oil
- Meat drippings
- Rice flour (for non-gluten)
- White flour
LIQUIDS, STRAIGHT OR IN COMBINATIONS:
- Broth/left-over soup
- Fruit juice
- Strong coffee
- Vegetable juice
- Vegetable steaming water
- Chopped herbs
- Ginger root
- Goat cheese
- Hot sauce/sriracha
- Kitchen Boquet for brown gravy color
- Soy/fish sauce
ADDITIONS TO CREAM OR ADD TO GRAVY:
- Cooked vegetables
- Leftover fish
- Leftover meat/chicken
- Cooked greens