Tomato sauce. Picture: Supplied
Tomato sauce. Picture: Supplied

5 classic sauces and how to make them at home

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Apr 16, 2020

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There's a magic in being able to make your own sauce from scratch. 

A well-made sauce can bring any dish together. It brings creaminess, taste, or even a bit of texture, that takes your meal to another level.

Can you imagine pasta without a sauce? Eggs Benedict without Hollaindase sauce? 

Or a burger without some delicious mushroom or cheese sauce oozing down your chin, together with the juices of your lipsmackingly delicious burger? 

Neither can we.

But there's an art to making great sauces and we decided to get tips from an expert - Chef Paul Thinus Prinsloo.

The young chef is the current winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef in Africa and the Middle East and here is his advice about making classic sauces  at home.

Bechamel sauce. Picture: Supplied


Bechamel can be used for pasta such as lasagna, or a classical French sandwich known as a Croque Monsieur.

How to make it: Always use a standard recipe which is one liter of milk that's been infused with onions, cloves and bay leaf. 

Roux to thicken the infusion, always use a 1:1 ratio for your roux. For the milk, I will use 35grams of flour and 35grams of butter. 

Melt your butter, add your flour stir until all the flour has been soaked up by the butter, cook until your mix starts to go light blond colour. Add your milk slowly whilst whisking, cook the sauce over low heat stirring occasionally plus-minus two hours.

Veloutè sauce. Picture: Supplied


Veloutè can be used for fish or chicken dishes. It is usually the beginning of another sauce. It is either chicken or fish stock that has been thickened with a roux. 

How to make it

: All you need is one litre of cold chicken stock 1:1 roux (40grams of flour and 40grams of butter).

Start with the roux, by melting your butter in a saucepan, add your flour and stir until the flour has been absorbed. Slowly add cold stock whilst whisking, and set veloutè aside. 

In another pot reduce 500ml of cream to about 250ml.

Add cream to veloutè and bring to medium heat until thickened. 

Add seasoning and mix with either sauteed chicken or roasted chicken that's been picked and serve it with pasta. 

Tomato sauce. Picture: Supplied

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce can be used for pasta, pizza, or meat dishes that go well with tomatoes. It can be made with either fresh or tinned tomatoes. 

How to make it: You will need rendered pork fat (local butcher should have) if not get pork fat and add it to a pot over low heat and cook the fat until all the fat has been cooked out plus-minus 30 minutes, fifteen whole fresh tomatoes without skin that's been cut up into chunks and 10ml of tomato paste, diced onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and two litres of chicken or vegetable stock. Take 50ml of rendered pork, heat in a deep pot, sweat onions with aromatics, add tomato paste, and cook until it catches at the bottom. 

Add tomato chunks, stir and cook for plus-minus five minutes. 

Add stock and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until thick.

Hollandaise sauce. Picture: Supplied


Hollandaise can be used for breakfast items, or meat especially steak by adding a herb such as tarragon.

How to make it: You will need three egg yolks, one tablespoon lemon juice, one teaspoon dijon mustard, and 180ml clarified butter.

Add 250ml butter to a saucepot, cook over medium heat, allow milk solids to separate and float to the top, skimming constantly by removing solids. 

Over a double boiler add yolks, mustard and lemon juice, whisk until egg yolk mixture becomes fluffy.

Slowly add clarified butter whilst whisking continuously. Until all the butter is finished. 

Season with salt and pepper. 

Espagnole sauce. Picture: Supplied

Espagnole sauce 

Espagnole sauce can be used for meat or vegetables. But just like veloutè, sauce Espagnole is the beginning of another sauce.

How to make it: You will need two carrots, one-piece celery, one-piece leeks, two onions, bay leaf, two-litre brown beef stock, tomato puree, eight chunky tomatoes, mixed peppers, 5grams basil, and red wine.

Cut all the vegetables up to sautè size vegetables. In a hot pot start with the carrots, leek, celery, and onion. Sautè for plus-minus ten minutes. 

Add tomato paste and beef stock. Bring to a boil, move to low heat and simmer for plus-minus five hours, strain liquid and reduce.

In another pot start with tomatoes, peppers, and herbs and add red wine and reduce, once the wine has been reduced, add Espagnole to the tomato sauce. If the sauce is too runny you can reduce it a bit more. 

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