Convenience Stocks and Sauces

Stocks are widely available in concentrated crystal, cube and powder forms. As with traditionally made stocks, these may form the basis of many products, including sauces, soups and stews, and the basic principles outlined will still apply. However, convenience type stocks are often very concentrated in nature and should not be used in the belief that they will improve the quality of the final product. In fact the result will a distortion of the flavor of the dish to which it has been added. Moreover, such stocks cannot be effectively reduced and so should be avoided when making sauces, soups and stews which involve the process of reduction in their preparation.

The same criteria used to assess fresh stocks may also be used to assess those made from convenience forms, although it should always be remembered that the latter is a quite different product made in a completely different way and so can never be exactly the same.

Most, if not all, of the sauces outlined on are available as convenience products in powder, canned, frozen or boil-in-the bag form. The foundation sauces in convenience form may be used to make the same wide range of extension sauces as fresh foundation sauces by adding the appropriate reductions of wine or vinegar and by finishing with suitable herbs and garnishes. Cream or yolks of eggs may also be added as a liaison, although it must be remembered that the sauce should not be allowed to boil once it has been added. Knobs of butter may also be added to give a mellow effect to the sauce as with fresh sauces.

The guiding principle that a sauce should complement rather than clash with the food it accompanies applies no matter whether a fresh or convenience sauce is used. The same criteria for assessing flavor, consistency, color and so on of fresh sauces also apply to convenience products.