Liaisons: The Binding Agents

A Gumbo Roux

Liaisons thicken a liquid in order to add body and thickness.

Basic Stock + Binding Agent = Basic Sauce

Roux: Made by cooking together flour and fat (typically butter) usually in equal portions.

  • Fat is melted
  • Flour is added and cooked
  • Roux Blanc —> 3-5 minutes, pale sauce
  • Roux Blond —> 6-7 minutes, golden sauce
  • Roux Brun —> 8-12 minutes, rich brown sauce

Beurre Manié: Softened Butter kneaded into flour

  • Pea size amounts whisked into sauce
  • Mixture is never brought to a boil
  • Only a small amount is used

Singer: Dry flour is sprinkled into a sauce

Slurry: Whisking Potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot, or Rice flour into a cold liquid to be dissolved.

  • Poured into boiling liquid in a slow stream.
  • Whisk constantly until thickened.

Double Cream: 

  • Simmered and reduced by half
  • Do not reduce further or it will break.
  • Whish into a hot liquid.


  • French Dijon has a slight thickening effect.
  • Beaten into the sauce off heat.
  • Sauce must not be boiled again or it will break.

Egg Yolks:

  • Temper egg yolk —> whisk a small amount of hot liquid into yolks to prevent from scrambling when added to sauce.
  • Whisk vigorously as you add to hot sauce.


  • Pearl tapioca will add consistency to a sauce.
  • If left to sit the thickening will continue.


  • Used to finish a sauce and create a silky velvet like thickness.
  • Not a primary thickener.

Brown Stocks (Fonds Bruns)

Brown Stocks (Fonds Bruns)

  • Preheat oven.
  • Clean and, if necessary, break bones.
  • Brown bones in roasting pan in oven.
  • Add mirepoix.
  • Transfer bones and mirepoix to stockpot.
  • Remove fat from roasting pan.
  • Deglaze sucs.
  • Cover browned ingredients with cold water.
  • Simmer and skim.
  • Add bouquet garni and tomatoes.
  • Simmer, skim and defat frequently
    • Chicken stock: 4 hours
    • Veal & game Stock: 6-8 hours.
    • Beef Stock: 8-12 hours.
  • Drain through fine chinois.
  • Discard solids.

Brown Veal Stock (Fond de Veau Brun)

  • Roasted Veal bones.
  • Carrots.
  • Celery.
  • Onions.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Garlic
  • Bouquet garni.

Brown Beef and Veal Stock (Braisiere)

  • Roasted Beef and Veal bones.
  • Carrots.
  • Onions.
  • Celery.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Garlic.
  • Bouquet garni.

Brown Game Stock (Fond de Gibier)

  • Roasted game bones.
  • Carrots.
  • Celery.
  • Onions.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Garlic.
  • Bouquet garni.

White Stocks (Fonds Blances) & Fumets

White Stocks (Fonds Blancs)

  • Clean and degorge bones.
  • Blanch and drain bones.
  • Cover bones with cold water.
  • Bring to a simmer and skim.
  • Add mirepoix and bouquet garni.
  • Simmer and skim frequently.
    • Chicken Stock: 2 hours.
    • Veal Stock: 4-6 hours.
  • Drain through fine chinois.
  • Discard solids.


  • Cleand and degorge bones.
  • Sweat vegetables.
  • Add bones and continue to sweat.
  • Cover with cold water.
  • Add bouquet garni.
  • Simmer and skim frequently for 30 minutes.
  • Drain through fine chinois.
  • Discard solids.

White Veal Stock (Fond de Veau Blanc)

  • Blanched Veal bones.
  • Carrots.
  • Onions.
  • Leeks.
  • Celery.
  • Bouquet Garni.

White Chicken Stock (Fond de Volaille Blanc)

  • Blanched chicken bones.
  • Carrots.
  • Onions.
  • Leeks.
  • Celery.
  • Bouquet Garni.

Fish Stock (Fumet de Poisson)

  • Fish bones.
  • Onions.
  • Leeks.
  • Bouquet garni.

French Stocks (Fonds)

Fonds, or stocks, are the starting point for many sauces, it’s critical that stock quality be the absolute best possible (in flavor and color), especially when reduced.

Brown stock—made with browned beef or veal bones and classic vegetable aromatics (classically, onion, leek, carrots, and celery).

White veal stock—prepared with veal bones and classic vegetable aromatics, but the bones and vegetables are not browned.

Chicken stock—made with skin-on chicken meat, chicken bones, and classic vegetable aromatics.

Vegetable stock—typically made with classic vegetable aromatics and sometimes leftover bits of other mild vegetables, such as mushrooms.

Fumet—fish stock made with fish bones, heads, tails, and classic vegetable aromatics, except the carrots.

Court-bouillon—a quickly cooked broth prepared with classic vegetable aromatics that serves as a poaching liquid for meat or fish.

Demi-glace—any kind of stock—white or brown, typically using veal, chicken, pork, or beef—reduced down to a glaze (about 20 percent of its original volume) and later reconstituted in various sauces.

Glace de crustace—or crustacean stock, made with crustacean shells, such as shrimp, crab, lobster, or crayfish that is cooked with classic vegetable aromatics and cooked down to a glaze (about 20 percent of its original volume).

Guidelines For Stock Preparation

Guidelines for Stock Preparation 

  • Use the highest quality ingredients.
  • Trim excess fat from meat and bones.
  • Always blanch Beef and Veal bones when making White stocks.
  • Never blanch fish bones when making a fumet, wash only.
  • Begin cooking process with cold water.
  • The higher the ratio of solids to liquids, more intense the flavor.
  • Simmer stocks slowly and uncovered.
  • Never allow a stock to boil, it will become cloudy.
  • Do not stir from the bottom, it will become cloudy.
  • Skim and degrease frequently, always use a clean ladel
  • Taste throughout the cooking process.
  • Stop the cooking process when the ingredients have released their maximum flavor.
  • Stocks should be poured out carefully through a chinois.
  • Stocks should be cooled quickly in an ice bath.
  • A properly prepared stock will be bright and clear.

Stocks and Sauces Terminology

Bouquet Garni: Fresh thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf, a few peppercorns tied together in leek greens.

Deglaze ( Déglacer): To loosen sucs from the bottom of a roasting pan using liquid: water, stock, vinegar, wine or juice.

Dégorger: To soak bones to remove blood to help produce a clearer, cleaner stock.

Degrease (Dégraisser): To remove grease from the top of a stock or sauce with a ladle or metal spoon.

Mirepoix: Equal parts of onions and carrots uniformly Cut, or 50% onions, 25% carrots, 25% celery or equal parts onions, carrots and celery.

Moisten (Mouiller): To Add water to bones and aromatics to produce a stock.

Mother Sauce (Sauce Mères): Group Of basic sauces of the Classical French repertoire.

Mount, to (Monter): Swirl in butter or other emulsifying agent to enrich the flavor and texture, gives a glossy finish.

Pass (Passer): To strain or pass a stock through a chinois.

Plug (Tamponner): To dot the top of a sauce with butter to prevent the formation of a film.

Reduce (Réduir): To boil a stock or sauce until the volume is reduced.

Remoisten (Remouillage): To Add water to cooked bones to extract their maximum flavor.

Roast (Rôtir): To cook in direct, radiant heat in the dry atmosphere of a preheated oven.

Simmer (Frémir): To cook gently so bubbles just break the surface.

Skim (écumer): To remove coagulated blood and impurities from a stock through skimming them off the top with a ladle or skimmer.

Sucs: Caramelized proteins that form on the bottom of a pan as ingredients are browned.

Sweat (Suer): To cook vegetables in a small amount of fat so that the ingredients cook in their own juices without taking on any color.

Winnow (Vanner): To stir a stock or sauce, either while it is cooking or in an ice bath, to facilitate cooking or cooling.

Vegetable Cooking: Dans un Blanc

Definition: Cooking in a water, flour, oil, lemon, salt solution for ingredients that easily discolor such as artichokes, salsify, offal and Veal.

  • 2 Quarts, 4 ounces (2 liters)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce (21 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 ounce (10 grams) coarse salt

In this example we are cooking four artichokes or 2 pounds of salsify, offal or Veal.

Combine water, oil, lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and salt.  Add ingredient to be cooked.  Over high heat bring to a boil. Lower heat slightly. Cook at low boil for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Allow item to stand in liquid one hour.

Glacer: Glazing Vegetables

Similar to A l’etuve, but a small amount of sugar is added.

  • Glacer à blanc: lightly glazed with butter
  • Glacer à Brun: sugar allowed to caramelize.


  • Cook one vegetable at a time.
  • Place vegetables in a saucepan in a single layer.  Add water as for A l’etuve, Butter, salt and a pinch of sugar.
  • Cut parchment paper to fit pan with a center hole.
  • Over high heat bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
  • Simmer until all liquid has evaporated.
  • If vegetables are almost tender remove parchment to allow evaporation.
  • For Glacer à Brun allow sugar to cook until it caramelizes on vegetables, turning then a golden brown.

Vegetable Cooking: A l’etuvé

Definition: Slowly cooks raw vegetables in a covered pan with their own juices, just a touch of fat and salt. Just enough liquid, water or Stock is added to allow the vegetable to exude their own moisture.

  • Place cleaned and cut vegetables in a pan large enough to hold in a single layer.
  • Add the required liquid to come halfway up the vegetable, this may be as little as a couple of tablespoons.
  • Add the desired fat and salt.
  • Fold a piece of parchment paper into a cone by making four folds inward. Cut off the tip. Cut cone to fit size of pan.
  • Over high heat bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat to a simmer.
  • If water evaporates too quickly, lower temperature.
  • Cook until vegetables are tender.
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  • Serve.