Substitute Heavy Cream With 3 Ingredients For Rich But Lighter Dishes

A splash of heavy cream is perfect for lending a comfortingly rich texture and flavor to a myriad of dishes. Even the scantest of tablespoons, when stirred through a basic marinara, can rescue a sour tomato sauce or instantly thicken the pan juices from a sizzling steak to turn it into a mouthwatering peppercorn jus. However, if you're looking for an alternative ingredient to help you create lighter meals without sacrificing the characteristic richness that comes from heavy cream, you can substitute it with the combination of three simple staples: butter, flour, and broth.

Heavy cream has a butterfat content of 48%, which means it can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for adding to bubbling stews. It also has a thickening quality that alters the consistency of sauces and seamlessly melds flavors together. Luckily, it's easy to mimic these properties with a roux that's prepared with melted butter and a touch of all-purpose flour before a liquid, such as milk, bone broth, or stock, is slowly poured in to create a creamy sauce.

There are three benefits to substituting heavy cream with a roux-based sauce. Firstly, the overall texture of the final dish is lighter, which makes for a meal that isn't overly cloying, particularly when eaten in abundance. Secondly, it marries together every ingredient in a dry dish, lending it moisture and balance. Finally, it also means that those who favor a low-calorie lifestyle can enjoy dishes that mimic the satisfying consistency of cream-based meals without the heaviness.

Using a bone broth or stock maximizes flavor

Once you've combined your melted butter with flour, you'll need to add a liquid to lend a saucy consistency to your dish. Milk is fantastic for mimicking some of the qualities that heavy cream brings to the table. However, using a bone broth or vegetable stock is a genius move if you're keen to reduce your dairy intake. These lighter alternatives to milk contain heaps of flavor of their own, which will elevate your dish to new heights with little extra legwork. Plus, meat-based broths are highly nutritious too and boast a natural supply of collagen, which is known to improve the elasticity of the skin and promote healthy joints.

Simply pour a splash of your liquid of choice into your roux and stir it thoroughly to eliminate lumps. Continue to slowly add as much broth as you like, taking care to mix well with every addition until the sauce reaches your preferred consistency. Then, you can toss in shredded chicken, baked fish, or beans to build a deliciously creamy-style dish that's light and flavorful but comfortingly moreish. Who needs heavy cream anyway when you can make such a delicious substitute with a trio of pantry staples?