Before I went on holiday I bought a new recipe book. I think I’ve built up a decent repertoire of skills and can execute a recipe pretty well now; especially after starting the blog almost a year ago. However there are a few things I really could improve. Like sauces. So when I saw someone recommend Michel Roux’s Sauces as being just about the perfect book on the subject I immediately added it to my shopping listk.
Usually if I’m going to do a sauce then it’s either going to be wine or stock poured into a hot pan recently used for browning meat and then reduced into a thick gravy. Sometimes I’ll get fancy with cream and herbs but generally that’s what I’ll do. It’s easy, quick, very tasty and even helps get the washing up started by getting all the
burnt caramelised bits off the bottom.
Sometimes that’s not enough though. I hear tales of people who actually put effort into a sauce. It’s almost a dish in its own right with the amount of effort that goes into it. Well time for me to try it. After all a good sauce will lift a piece of meat from the ordinary to extraordinary.
My first attempt is a nice and simple lamb dish. Mostly because I love that particular meat and I’d picked up a couple of fine looking chops in the supermarket. Unfortunately I didn’t plan this in advance so had only a vague memory of seeing a sauce in the book using aubergines and I reckoned that would go pretty well with the wooly beast. So I bought an aubergine and nothing else. When I got home I realised the sauce actually used shallots, veal stock, cream and a few other things I hadn’t bought.
But I had committed now. I needed to try. So I followed the recipe as closely as possible with a few substitutions (chicken stock for veal stock) and I didn’t bother with the cream. If I was to do it again I probably wouldn’t bother passing it through a sieve either. That was definitely more trouble than it’s worth. However the result was sublime. It might not look very good (presentation skills on the plate being another part of my cooking that needs considerable work) but I assure it tasted superb. It really does work beautifully with the lamb.
1 aubergine, cut into cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
50ml of red wine
300ml chicken stock
Sprinkle the salt onto the aubergine cubes and leave them for 15 minutes to draw out bitter juices.
Heat a large frying pan, pat dry the aubergine and gently fry it with the onion in plenty of olive oil.
Once the aubergine is starting to soften add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes.
Pour in the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in a large pinch of paprika then blend the mix in a food processor or with a hand blender.
Pass the mix through a sieve into a small pan and add a tablespoon of the mustard and a small handful of tarragon.
Bring it back to the boil and serve immediately with the lamb.