FLAVOR PAIRINGS

A whole world of ingredients is now available to the cook. Although some are common partners to all meat, others go particularly well with certain meats. Sometimes it is the flavor combinations that excite us, sometimes  a texture complements the meat. Here is a brief guide to get you started.

FLAVOR PAIRINGSFLAVOR PAIRINGS 2

MEAT KNOW-HOW GETTING SAUCY

HOWEVER PERFECTLY COOKED IT IS, ADDING A SAUCE TO DRY-COOKED (ROASTED OR GRILLED) MEAT MAKES IT FAR MORE ENJOYABLE. SOME SAUCES TAKE TIME TO PREPARE SO MAKE THEM IN ADVANCE TO PREVENT THE MEAT FROM OVERCOOKING WHILE WAITING FOR THE SAUCE TO COOK.

MAKING STOCK Keeping small tubs of reduced stock in your freezer makes cooking any kind of sauce simple. Stock that is not reduced makes a good base  for soup. Every time you have spare bones, wrap and freeze them until you have enough  to make stock. Or buy some from the butcher. Use a mixture of meaty bones and scraps (for flavor) and bones with cartilage (for texture).

1 Brush the bones with oil and roast them until they are really brown. Don’t let them burn though, or the stock will taste bitter.

2 Pack the bones tightly into a large pan with vegetables, if desired, and completely cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to  a low simmer, or place in an oven heated  to 325°F (160°C). Poultry bones should not  be allowed to boil, however, or the stock will become cloudy.

3 After 2–3 hours, strain the stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. When it is completely cold, skim off any fat.

4 Return the stock to the clean pan. Add wine, if desired. Boil until it has reduced to between one half and one third of its original volume. This will concentrate the flavor.

5 Cool and pour into small tubs or ice cube trays and freeze for later use.
MAKING JUS These clear sauces, made by boiling off the meat juices after cooking, work best where there is plenty of flavorsome caramelized browning left in the pan or roasting tray. Add concentrated jellied stock for a savory, syrupy texture, or  a little fruit jelly for a sweet, syrupy texture.
THICKENING SAUCES A variety of textures can be added to a dish  by adding a thickened sauce. Creamy sauces, for example, are good for well-done meat.
ADDING FLOUR

•  Add a few teaspoons of flour to the roasting pan, stir to absorb the juices, then add liquid gradually and let it cook.
•  Make a thin white sauce using flour with stock or milk, and add to the roasting pan.  This is good for large amounts of gravy. •  Make beurre manié (“kneaded butter”) by mashing together 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour. Whisk small amounts into a thin sauce and simmer for 10–15 minutes.
ADDING EGG, CREAM, AND BUTTER

•  Whisk butter and lemon juice into egg yolks in a water bath. Then add complementary herbs.

•  Use heavy cream to thicken sauces. It can be safely boiled and will readily absorb flavors.

•  Whisk small pieces of butter into a thin jus over low heat just before serving.
ADDING VEGETABLES AND FRUIT

add vegetable

Cook vegetables or fruit until soft, then rub them through a sieve or blend to a purée.  Add this to the roasting pan or sauce.
CREAMY SAUCE Poultry breasts such as pheasant, chicken, or guinea fowl, can feel quite dry when cooked through, so they benefit from a creamy sauce.
EMERGENCY FLAVORS
Sometimes a sauce or gravy lacks taste  and needs something—fast—to make it interesting. Decide which flavor pairings will go with your meat (see pp32–3), start by adding small amounts, and don’t add  too many. Tiny amounts of stock cube  can also be used. Acid flavors: orange, lemon and lime  juice, wine, wine vinegar, yogurt. Sweet, fruity flavors: fruit jellies, fruit juices, honey, brown sugar, hard cider, spirits. Rich, savory flavors: soy sauce, tea, mustard, coffee, cocoa powder, curry paste.

BÉARNAISE SAUCE

BÉARNAISE SAUCEMakes 3⁄4 cup
Prep: 10 mins   Cook: 5 mins
INGREDIENTS 2 small shallots, finely chopped 1 tbsp chopped tarragon 2 tbsp white wine vinegar 2 tbsp white wine 1 tsp peppercorns, crushed 3 egg yolks 13 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cubed salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp lemon juice
1 Put the shallots, tarragon, vinegar, wine,  and peppercorns in a heavy nonmetallic saucepan and boil for 2 minutes, or until reduced by at least half. Strain through a  sieve, and set aside to cool. 2 Put the egg yolks and 1 tbsp water in a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of barely simmering water. The bowl must not touch the water. Whisk in the cooled liquid, then whisk in the butter, one cube at a time, until it has melted and combined. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

BLUE CHEESE DRESSINGMakes 1 cup
Prep: 10 mins
INGREDIENTS 3⁄4 cup sour cream 31/2oz (100g) Roquefort cheese, crumbled 1 garlic clove 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tbsp finely snipped chives salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Place the sour cream, cheese, garlic, mustard, white wine vinegar, and 3 tbsp of water in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in the chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 2 Pour into a serving bowl and chill until  ready to serve. (This dressing can be made 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.)

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

HOLLANDAISE SAUCEMakes 3⁄4 cup
Prep: 10 mins   Cook: 5 mins
INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp white wine vinegar juice of 1⁄2 lemon 3 large egg yolks salt and ground white pepper 12 tbsp butter
1 Put the vinegar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and  remove from the heat. 2 Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a  food processor or blender, season with  a little salt and pepper, and blend for  1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add the lemon juice and vinegar mixture. 3 Put the butter in the same pan and leave over low heat until melted. When it begins to foam, remove from the heat. With the food processor running, gradually add the butter to form a thick  sauce. Serve immediately.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

CRANBERRY SAUCEMakes 11⁄4 cups
Prep: 5 mins    Cook: 15 mins
INGREDIENTS 9oz (250g) fresh or frozen cranberries 1 small shallot, finely chopped 1⁄3 cup light brown sugar zest and juice of 1 orange 4 tbsp red wine or port
1 Put the cranberries in a sauce pan with the shallot, sugar, orange zest and juice, and red wine. Bring to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. 2 Simmer gently for 10–12 minutes, or until the cranberries are beginning to break up. 3 Leave to cool, then transfer to  a serving dish or storage jar. (This sauce can be kept refrigerated  for up to 1 week.)