Labor Day traditionally marks the last big hurrah of summer, but around here we’re already feeling the first whisper-y touches of Fall. The turn of the calendar page to September, school buses grinding down the street, and the first maple leaves flushing scarlet and gold. Plump pumpkins and (sadly pitiful) tomatoes in the garden are turning my thoughts from the burgers and salads of summer to the hearty stews and rich, creamy casseroles of Fall.
Casseroles are quintessential, no-fuss comfort food. They use up leftovers, demand no attention from you while cooking, work just as well freshly layered or pulled from the freezer, and make only one dish to wash! But for all their virtues, traditional casseroles have a glaring flaw: reliance on Cream of Goop soup.
Chicken or mushroom, this nutritionally empty, over-processed goop smothers your dinner in sodium, sugar, modified starch stabilizers, (potentially neurotoxic) flavorings of dubious extraction, and other nasty things. That little can knocks the “comfort” out of comfort food in a hurry!
Now for the good news: Velouté sauce is an easy, inexpensive, and nutrient dense alternative to cream-of-goop soup in your favorite recipes!
My simplified version of this classical French sauce is a cinch to throw together and never disappoints. Even better, it’s nutrient-dense and free of all common allergens!
Simple Velouté Sauce
Equal parts whole, raw milk and chicken stock*
Thickener of choice**
1 to 2 tbsp good quality powdered gelatin (I like Great Lakes brand) [optional]
- If using a butter & flour roux as thickener, melt the butter in a large pot and stir in the flour until it’s bubbly and browned. If not, skip this step.
- Combine everything in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently, until sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
That’s it! How long it takes will vary depending on your stove, type of thickener, etc. but it comes together quickly. For a 13×9″ dish, I use 2 to 3 cups of sauce but scale up or down to your personal taste. Like it creamier? Make extra!
*Feel free to sub unsweetened rice, almond, or coconut milk here.
**I like organic corn starch.
***This sauce freezes beautifully, so make extra and freeze in single-recipe-size servings for later use.
Want to get fancy? Add cheese and you’ll have yourself a Mornay Sauce!
Tell me: What cold weather foods are you looking forward to?