The Ingredient Thomas Keller Always Begins A Sauce With

Famed French Laundry chef Thomas Keller always starts his sauce with a good stock. This single ingredient is key because it serves as the base of your sauce. Get it wrong and your taste buds may not forgive you. Keller explained the importance of stock to MasterClass, stating, "It gives a beautiful aroma and texture that complements whatever it's being served with." 

At its most basic, the process of creating this tasty liquid starts by simmering ingredients in water which can include veggies, seasonings, herbs, or the bones of chicken, beef, or pork. You may even add a little wine to enhance its taste. The slow and low cooking technique extracts all that goodness each ingredient holds to produce a balance of layers of rich, sweet, and savory flavors. Your stock then serves as a canvas awaiting your culinary artistry and the possibilities of creating delicious and mouthwatering sauces are truly endless.

What is the purpose of the sauce?

Depending on your dish, a sauce can have different purposes. It can provide flavor, texture, moisture, or just make a meal more appealing. Sometimes you want something that complements your recipe while other times you want your sauce to intensify and amplify all the feels of your tongue. That's where your stock is going to become mission critical.

Whether you are creating a rich Espagnole sauce to go along with a meaty dish or a lighter velouté sauce, stock is going to be the key. The texture and body of the stock is going to work wonders to thicken and bind all of the ingredients to help you achieve a silky, smooth consistency that is synonymous with many a good sauce. There are a couple of ways to get the consistency you want. Sometimes you will reduce your meaty stock to create your sauce, while other times you may need to add some flour or cornstarch. But the end result is something flavorful that makes your guests want to lick their plates.