Dressing Up For Yom Tov

By Eileen Goltz
With the High Holidays on the horizon, we are all on the look-out for special recipes that will dress up our Yom Tov fish, chicken or beef.  Because it is hard to predict exactly what time synagogue services will end or guests will arrive, I prefer to cook my meats first and then add an extra special sauce before serving.
Sauces are the backbone of so many classic dishes.  They give good dishes that extra-added touch of elegance.  For some reason, many cooks find even the thought of preparing sauces intimidating.  Have no fear!  Sauces involve the blending and thickening of only a few basic ingredients:  oil or butter, seasonings, liquids and, in some cases, eggs or flour.  You’ll use the same techniques over and over to add pizzazz to many of your favorite dishes.  The possibilities are as unlimited as your imagination.
You may think that keeping kosher precludes using these fancy, schmancy sauces.  If you
want to serve a classic “dairy” sauces with meat, it’s easy to substitute margarine for butter and use nondairy creamer or rice milk rather than dairy milk or cream.
The purpose of a sauce is to add to the appearance, flavor and texture of food.  The perfect sauce should be smooth, glossy, full of flavor, but never greasy.  A good rule of thumb when deciding on how much sauce you need is to prepare approximately 1/4 cup of sauce for each person if you are adding the sauce to a meat, fish or pasta dish.  Typically, most sauces are added after the dish has been prepared: they are the finishing touch.

The Roux
The roux is the basis of the sauce, not the sauce itself.  The first step in making
the white and brown sauces is the roux.  In the roux (translated as russet brown),
butter or margarine and flour are cooked together to provide a thickening agent for the sauce.  Though some cooks use arrowroot, potato starch, or cornstarch as thickeners instead, those ingredients do not yield the rich full-bodied flavor of a roux-based sauce.  A white roux takes only a few minutes to make; a brown roux a little longer.
Basic Roux 

This recipe can be prepared either parve or dairy.

2 T margarine or butter
2 T flour
1 c. of water, broth or stock


For a white sauce, melt the margarine in a saucepan over moderate heat.  Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the flour aroma is gone.  For a brown sauce let the flour/margarine mixture brown slightly, but remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to turn a light brown.  Then add 1 cup of liquid to this mixture and this will yield 1 cup of sauce.

The white sauce, or bechamel sauce, is a base for countless other sauces.  Used by itself, it is the “cream” in creamed vegetable and meat dishes.  With other flavorings added, it becomes a sauce for all types of dishes.  Any fat or oil can be used, but the classic sauce calls for butter.  The thickness of the sauce may be controlled by adjusting the quantities of flour and liquid.

Bechamel Sauce – Basic White Sauce

This recipe can be prepared either parve or dairy.

2 T margarine or butter
2 T flour
1 c. non-dairy creamer or milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated, fresh nutmeg
             Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat.  Stir in the flour and
cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the flour aroma is gone.  Add the milk and stir

with a wire whisk over moderate heat until the sauce comes to a boil and has

thickened.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.   Yields 1 cup.


To make this as the base for a brown sauce to be served with meat, use
margarine instead of butter and non-dairy creamer for the milk.  Let the roux
brown slightly before adding the non-dairy creamer.
Veloute Sauce parve or meat

This is best prepared as a brown roux and accompanies both fish and meat nicely.
2 T margarine
2 T flour
1 c. parve or meat stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated, fresh nutmeg
Curry Sauce parve

This sauce can be served over baked fish or chicken and is also great with grilled vegetables.  Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and cayenne pepper to taste to the melted margarine along with the flour to the basic 1 cup white sauce recipe.

Horseradish Sauce or Sauce Albert  parve

A classic accompaniment to boiled or corned beef.  Add 3 tablespoons of prepared horseradish, 2 tablespoons of non-dairy whipping cream, and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the basic recipe for 1 cup of parve white sauce.

Mock Hollandaise Sauce parve
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T margarine
1 c. mayonnaise
Salt and white pepper

Melt margarine in a saucepan, add lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Stir in mayonnaise, heat.  Serve immediately on vegetables and garnish with
paprika.  Makes 1 cup.

Sauce Bearnaise parve

¼ cup white wine
1 sprig chervil, chopped (optional)
2 T tarragon vinegar
1 t parsley
1 t shallots, chopped fine
3 egg yolks
1/2 t ground white pepper
3/4 c. margarine, melted
1 t tarragon

Combine the wine, vinegar, shallots, pepper, tarragon, chervil and parsley in the top of a double boiler.  Cook over direct heat until reduced by half.  Strain the mixture and allow it to cool.  Beating briskly, over hot water, (not in hot water), add, alternating between them, the egg yolks and the margarine.  Beat steadily so that all ingredients are combined.  Season to taste.  The sauce should have the consistency of Hollandaise sauce.  This sauce is usually served with beef.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts With Curry Sauce meat
64 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved

6 T all purpose flour

3 large egg whites

1 large egg

51/2c. curry powder.

½ t. salt

5 t. vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ c. chicken broth

Place the chicken breast halves between layers of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness.  Place 5 tablespoons of flour in a pie dish.  Whisk egg whites, egg, 41/2 teaspoons of curry powder and salt in shallow bowl to blend.  Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat 3 chicken breasts with flour, shaking off excess.  Then, dip the chicken into then egg mixture.  Add them to the skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  As they are ready, transfer them to a platter.  Repeat with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken.  Tent chicken with foil to keep warm.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high
heat.  Add garlic, remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and remaining 1 teaspoon of curry
powder and stir for 30 seconds.  Gradually whisk in broth.  Bring to boil, whisking
constantly.  Boil until thickened to sauce consistency, about 2 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Return chicken to skillet and turn to coat with sauce.  Transfer chicken to platter.  Drizzle with any remaining sauce and serve.  Serves 6.

© Eileen Goltz

This article was featured in the Fall 2000 issue of Jewish Action.