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Old 11-15-2004, 11:48 AM   #21
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GB thxs for your ever positive comments :-).

Alix when I talk about ground nuts I normally refer to ground almonds and cashews. Although any nuts will do I consider these more neutral than peanuts. The blanched almonds and cashews also have a more neutral sweet taste that can blend in easily into any cuisine.

When you use nuts grind them as finely as you can and then stir them when you are sauting ingredients (a cup or so will make the gravy plenty thick and rich). Try this with lamb ( I normally make a gravy with yogurt and almonds and spices to pour over my roasted lamb) and you will not regret it.

Don't forget that adding yogurt, coconut milk, cream alongside nuts will make the gravy even thicker.
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Old 02-22-2005, 07:26 PM   #22
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Old post but...

It really depends on what kind of sauce you're making. Is it roux based, butter based, etc. For 99.9% of my sauces, the only thickener that I add is a type of fat, be it cream, butter, or oil. The rest of my sauces are reduced so that the flavors are more concentrated and pronounced. A reduction is the best way to thicken a sauce, and it gives a complexity that you only find in the better restaurants.

The only time that I think ever use cornstarch to thicken a sauce is as a slurry when I make chinese food at home.
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Old 02-22-2005, 11:29 PM   #23
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Can you elaborate on that last post iron chef? when you use a type of fat, is this for a roux, or butter based or some other sauce. Your posted seemed to suggest that sauce base woulde be of some important in determining this but then you were not clear on what ingredient goes with what sauce. Thx.
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:09 AM   #24
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I tend to use reduction as a thickener in most cases... but

If I'm thickening for a pudding sauce, I use arrowroot - it only thickens and doesn't make the sauce go opaque... (I'm thinking of instances like thickening the syrup from tinned black cherries for something such as Cherries Jubilee).

For gravies I use either cornflour or regular flour added to meat juices and then pour in the liquid. I also use a little Dijon mustard to help slightly thicken a savoury cream sauce.
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Old 02-23-2005, 02:50 PM   #25
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I just typed a long post, but somehow I got logged out so this is the shorthand version (sorry).

Reduction concentrates flavors in the base liquid (wine, stock, fruit or vegetable juice, etc.), while thickening with another agent pre-maturely does not. When talking about adding a fat to thicken, I'm referring to not even combining it with a type of starch-based thickener.

Cream can be added after the base liquid is reduced, and then reduced further to thicken.

Butter needs to be added at the end ONLY, then incorporated off the heat. Never cook a sauce further after adding in the butter, or it will seperate.

Oil, as a thickener, is used mainly in uncooked sauces, or sauces where after cooking the base ingredient, you are finishing it either chilled or at room temp. Keep in mind that you need to have an acid included to bind the oil with the sauce.

Remember that sauces do NOT have to be like country-style gravy. With the exception of the oil-based method, the methods I described will never give you that ultra-thick consistency if that is what you are looking for. I prefer my sauces to be lighter in texture, even rich sauces like a demi-glace. Because the flavors are so bold and concentrated, you only need a little of the sauce to serve with the food, as opposed to smothering it with sauce that is less developed.
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:05 PM   #26
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I have also mixed equal parts of room temperature butter and flour and rolled into balls, added one at a time to pan drippings and it thinkens nicely, but do not let it come to a full boil.
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:47 PM   #27
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thanks for tips on sauces, Iron chef and the rest of you.
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