How to fix a bad sauce
You will agree with me that a good sauce makes a dish always be remembered, but if it fails, it spoils it. Fortunately, in many cases there may be a second chance that allows us to save the situation, you just have to know a few tricks on how to fix a sauce.
A sauce for a slow cooker stew or a sautéed dish should be reduced to the amount required by the portions on the plate. It is convenient that we have 50-75 ml (1/2 or 3/4 of a cup) per person for a rather liquid sauce and somewhat less for a thick sauce that covers the meat.
How to fix a sauce that's too runny
To reduce some of the liquid, we take a few tablespoons of the excess sauce, put them in a wide saucepan and boil until it reduces, later incorporating it into the stew. To reduce a lot of sauce, we transfer the solid ingredients with a slotted spoon to the serving dish and cover them to keep them warm.
Then we measure the liquid and calculate the amount we will need, 300 ml (three cups) is enough for four people. We transfer the sauce to a saucepan and give it a quick boil until we have the desired quantity (measuring again if necessary) and then we mix it with the meat that we had reserved.
How to fix a sauce that's too light
If you admit it, a sauce can be thickened by adding an ingredient that cooks quickly, such as a small pasta or a thinly sliced potato. We can also remove half of the ingredients from the sauce, reduce them to a puree and put them back.
Most sauces, which admit a little more fat, can be thickened with beurre manie: we reduce the same amount of flour and butter to a paste, cut it into pieces the size of a pea and pour them little by little into the hot liquid, beating it over low heat, without boiling.
We can thicken a white sauce with egg. We beat a yolk with 60 or 75 ml of cream, for 300 ml of liquid. Mix with a little sauce and put it all in the pot, letting it cook slowly, turning with a spoon, without boiling.
If we want a sauce to thicken quickly, without boiling it again, we can add a little potato starch. A few flakes of mashed potatoes give the same result. We will dissolve them in a little hot liquid, without the need for it to boil (unlike what happens when flour is added), which is important in sauces that have yolk or cream, which are cut if they cook longer.
Fine cornmeal is suitable when we do not want to add more fat. We can put 15 ml (1 tablespoon) for 300 ml of liquid, for this we dissolve the amount of fine corn flour in a little of the sauce and add it to the rest, letting it cook until we obtain the desired consistency.
How to fix a sauce with fat or foam
Before frying or stewing a meat, we must look at the fat that it has, the chicken, for example, has some balls of fat under the curcusilla, inside, which must be removed, as well as the one that carries the beef, lamb or pork . We can melt that fat to sauté the meat itself.
At the end of cooking, if we put an ice cube in the sauce, it will make the fat float. We just have to remove it with a large spoon or absorb it with a piece of bread or absorbent paper. To prevent a curd film from forming on top of a sauce while we wait for it to cool, we can cover it with a moistened piece of greaseproof paper.
How to fix a lumpy sauce
If a sauce made with a roux is left with lumps of raw flour, the cause of the lumps is that we did not melt the butter and did not cook the flour correctly at first. If a cold sauce is heated too quickly, lumps can also form.
To undo the lumps, we have to beat the sauce with the electric mixer and then sift it over a clean saucepan, beating with metal rods while it reheats.
How to fix a bland sauce
We can liven up a sauce by adding 1/8 to 1/4 of a chicken stock cube (even if it is a fish recipe). We can also add wine, 60 ml (4 tablespoons), which we will boil to reduce it by half. We can also put dry white vermouth or 5 ml (a teaspoon) of vinegar.
In a brown sauce, we can add a few drops of Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce or Dijon mustard. Also zest and orange juice, tomato concentrate or a pinch of brown sugar.
The white sauces improve if we add reduced white wine, a pinch of nutmeg or cayenne and, above all, chopped herbs. To make the sauces more lustrous, we can incorporate by beating a few pieces of butter just before serving.
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