The great French chef, Auguste Escoffier wrote:
"Indeed, the broth is all in cooking, at least in French cuisine. Without it, nothing can be done. If his broth is good, what remains of the work is easy; if, on the other hand, it is bad or simply mediocre, he is utterly desperate to expect something to approach a satisfactory outcome. "
Escoffier and other French chefs have revolutionized early French cuisine by inventing a lighter, reduced sauce, a variant of the traditionally heavy cream sauces, known as broth.
Since the 16th century, broths have been used in the preparation of soups and sauces. The broths are the extraction of flavor from the liquid-based ingredients. The ingredients often include bones, vegetables, herbs and spices simmered in water.
There are some traditionally used French broths and sauces. "Ice creams" are broths that have been reduced, while a "demi-glace" is further reduced to form a thick brown sauce. They are used in many dishes to intensify flavor, texture and color. A "juice" is the natural liquid from the drops of a roast. A "au jus" is generally prepared with broth and meat trimmings. An "essence" is the vegetable equivalent of a meat broth added for a touch of flavor in the sauce.
Why are broths so rich in flavor? The ingredients that simmer allow the flavor to be extracted in addition to reducing the volume – it is this reduction that further concentrates the flavor of the broth.
As a result, broths and sauces are the key to delicious food – as well as for other reasons than taste. As our economy continues to recover, we know that families around the world work long hours. Cooking nutritious and satisfying meals can get you by the wayside in everyday tasks, but keeping a pantry full of good broths and sauces gives you the ability to cook quick dinners on the fly.