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    6 sauces to elevate your holiday meals

    With the festive season approaching, we have got some great sauce ideas to ensure your feast has a real wow factor.

    Before you can fully appreciate sauces, you should know what a sauce is. Sauces are thickened liquids used to add richness, flavour and moisture to a dish. Drier foods ­– such as grilled meats, roasts, or meatloaf – are often enhanced with sauces and gravies.

    Sauces typically contain a liquid, thickener and various flavourings and seasonings. Below we look at some of the sauces you should be making this festive holiday to elevate your meals.

    Mayonnaise sauce

    Mayonnaise consists of oil, egg yolk and vinegar or lemon juice. A French chef invented this cold emulsified sauce in 1756. Mayonnaise is thick and creamy and used in a variety of dishes including pasta salads, deviled eggs and coleslaw. Many people put this creamy white sauce on their sandwiches and others use it as a dipping sauce.

    Hollandaise sauce

    Hollandaise sauce is an easy-to-make French sauce, with the main ingredient being egg yolks. This sauce is light and creamy and goes really well with steamed vegetables and poached eggs. This is a delectable and classic sauce recipe, which has been used for generations in France and other parts of Europe. Serve it on the breakfast table, and you will be quite a hit among your friends and family. This lip-smacking sauce can even be served as a dip with your favourite snacks.

    How to make it: You will need three egg yolks, one tablespoon lemon juice, one teaspoon dijon mustard, and 180ml clarified butter. Add 250ml butter to a saucepot, cook over medium heat, allow milk solids to separate and float to the top, skimming constantly by removing solids.

    Over a double boiler add yolks, mustard, and lemon juice, whisk until the egg yolk mixture becomes fluffy. Slowly add clarified butter whilst whisking continuously. Until all the butter is finished. Season with salt and pepper.

    Mushroom sauce

    Mushroom sauce is a white or brown sauce prepared using mushrooms as its primary ingredient. It can be prepared in different styles using various ingredients and is used to top a variety of foods. It is made with mushrooms, butter, cream or olive oil, white wine and pepper, with a wide variety of variations possible with additional ingredients such as shallot, garlic, lemon juice, flour (to thicken the sauce), chicken stock, saffron, basil, parsley, or other herbs.

    Tomato sauce

    Tomato sauce can be used for pasta, pizza, or meat dishes that go well with tomatoes. It can be made with either fresh or tinned tomatoes.

    How to make it: You will need rendered pork fat (local butcher should have) if not get pork fat and add it to a pot over low heat and cook the fat until all the fat has been cooked out plus-minus 30 minutes, fifteen whole fresh tomatoes without skin that’s been cut up into chunks and 10ml of tomato paste, diced onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and two litres of chicken or vegetable stock.

    Take 50ml of rendered pork, heat in a deep pot, sweat onions with aromatics, add tomato paste and cook until it catches at the bottom. Add tomato chunks, stir and cook for plus-minus five minutes. Add stock and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until thick.

    Apple sauce

    A sweetened sauce made from cooked apples and spices. Apple sauce can be smooth or chunky, very sweet or tart, and can be flavoured with other fruits to create a blend. It can be made fresh or purchased in several varieties, usually packed in jars. Apples are ideal for making chutney, as well as adding to soups and stews to add extra sweetness. Apple sauce is also a wonderful sugar substitute in many recipes.

    Espagnole

    Also known as brown sauce, Espagnole is made from a brown stock. Brown roux, mirepoix, and tomato puree are often added to this rich, full-bodied sauce. Because of its strong taste, Espagnole is rarely used directly on food. Instead, this mother sauce is used to make a variety of other sauces including lyonnaise sauce, mushroom sauce, and berry sauce.

    How to make it: You will need two carrots, one-piece celery, one-piece leeks, two onions, bay leaf, two-litre brown beef stock, tomato puree, eight chunky tomatoes, mixed peppers, 5 grams basil, and red wine. Cut all the vegetables up to sautè size vegetables. In a hot pot start with the carrots, leek, celery, and onion.

    Sautè for plus-minus ten minutes. Add tomato paste and beef stock. Bring to a boil, move to low heat and simmer for plus-minus five hours, strain liquid and reduce. In another pot start with tomatoes, peppers, and herbs and add red wine and reduce, once the wine has been reduced, add Espagnole to the tomato sauce. If the sauce is too runny you can reduce it a bit more.

    Additional information by chef Paul Prinsloo.

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