We’ve all been there, right? You’re standing at the stove, diligently stirring your almost-ready sauce that we all know is the pièce de résistance of your meal, when you look away for one moment to
take a sip of your wine check on the potatoes, and suddenly the sauce resembles dirty bath water. Eek!
The next few moments are a blur of panic, more ingredients, too much of one thing and not enough of another, and before you know it, your pets are loving you more than ever for their extra tasty dinner, while your guests get tomato sauce — if they’re lucky. It’s at this very moment that you wish you’d paid attention when your granny was telling you how to thicken sauces.
Well, worry no more… You actually have a range of thickeners in your kitchen that you probably don’t even know about, and they will solve any consistency problem in no time at all.
3 great ways to thicken sauces and gravy
1. Use a beurre manié
It might sound uber fancy, but beurre manié is just a French term that refers to equal quantities of flour and butter mixed to a smooth paste. Added to sauces and soups at the end of cooking, it can be used to quickly thicken any liquid.
How to use a beurre manié to thicken sauces: Mix equal quantities of melted butter and flour into a smooth paste, and then add the paste to your sauce a little bit at a time, stirring or whisking continuously. Once the sauce starts bubbling, check the consistency. If it’s still too thin, repeat the process. Make sure you give the sauce a good few minutes to cook so that it doesn’t taste floury.
Read more: The best braai salads to make this weekend
2. Corn flour
It’s definitely worth keeping this useful item in your pantry at all times. It thickens in an instant, but remember to mix it with cold water first so it doesn’t turn your sauce lumpy. This is called slaking, if you want to get technical.
How to use corn flour to thicken sauces: Your corn flour packaging should have a rough guideline of how much cornflour to add to how much liquid, but we recommend starting with 2 teaspoons of cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water (or use stock or wine) to thicken 1 cup of liquid. Pour your cornflour slurry into your sauce, then whisk or stir it in and heat until bubbling.
3. Sieved vegetables
Cooked veggies make a great and super tasty thickener for gravies. Add a few veggies to your roast, then mash them up and sieve them into the gravy. Voila! If you have a handheld blender, even easier — just throw the vegetables into the gravy and blend until smooth.