Just type the word “broth” in the search line, as the following expressions are: “Broth, as in childhood”, “Broth, as in the USSR”, “Broth for kittens, as in a Soviet canteen”. Nostalgia is a very intimate thing and it is useless to discuss it. Another thing is definitely different: the sauce (or gravy!) Really works wonders and can transform even the most banal dish. Here it is appropriate to recall the traditions of French cuisine (known, incidentally, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which is based on four basic sauces – Hollandaise, bechamel, veloute and tomato.
It sounds pretty elegant and weird, but in practice, all of these sauces require neither expensive ingredients nor special culinary skills. But with their help, you can breathe new life into even banal boiled potatoes or pasta – by the way, the diligent housewives of the USSR time used this secret forcefully and mainly, even if they did not know the French names of their favorite “floods”.
However, the same gravy from childhood is still different from French sauces, but it is more than realistic to cook it in modern home conditions. Are you?
Finely chop the onion, fry in a pan (preferably in a mixture of sunflower and butter). You can add a pinch of sugar – this way the onion will caramelize better and its taste will be more expressive.
Add a few tablespoons of tomato paste there (a small serving jar will work), mix well. If you want a more intense “rich” flavor, you can add a little sweet paprika.
Dilute the next sauce with a juice – best of all with chicken broth, but if it is not available, then you can use plain boiling water. Enough 500-600 ml. The main thing is not to overdo it, otherwise the taste will be diluted with water.
Add salt, black pepper and spices to taste, such as a mixture of dried herbs. Stir, cover and leave on low heat for 30-40 minutes, so that the excess liquid boils and the sauce becomes thicker.
In the final stage of cooking, add a few tablespoons of low-fat sour cream, mixed with flour in advance – this will make the sauce thicker. Fresh greens, if desired, it is better to add at the end, otherwise it will get wet and become tasteless.
This, of course, is not bechamel or velouté, but a traditionally successful and popular sauce in the post-Soviet space. By the way, it can be modified and changed depending on the mood, preferences and products available. For example, if you want a richer tomato flavor, skip the yogurt. If half a bottle of wine is left after the holiday, you can safely pour it into the sauce instead of boiling water – you get something a bit like the base for an Italian bolognese. You can also use dark or light beer – this is already a reference to Czech or German culinary traditions.
Another option is to add more vegetables to the gravy: not only fried onions, but also carrots, celery, bell peppers, garlic, green peas, zucchini or zucchini grown in your home will go well in season (there is nowhere to put them anyway!). To prepare such a vegetable sauce, first fry all the ingredients and only then add the tomato paste, flour and dilute with gravy, wine or water. In this case, sour cream is not required. A similar but alternative option is to fry a little meat or chicken along with the tomato paste: this way, with a small consumption of products, you get a “meat” flavored broth.
By the way, if there is an intention to cook stew, then the algorithm of actions changes a little: first of all, pieces of beef or pork are fried in a pan (chicken is also possible), and only then onions, tomato paste. and other ingredients are added to them – and poured with water. First, this way the meat will cook well and become tender and secondly, it will give the sauce a little flavor (almost like when cooking meat broth). So the expressive taste of the meat will appear, even if the liquid is made in water, and not in soup.
But what about French names? Often not names, dish! – are known to the average Russian consumer. For example, we have consistently encountered bechamel sauce in the menu of canteens and cafes called “white sauce”. It is added before roasting chicken, meat or vegetables – and turns out to be much tastier than smearing “supposedly French” meat with mayonnaise.
To prepare bechamel sauce you need only three ingredients – flour, milk and butter. Butter (2-3 tablespoons) It should melt in a pan with a thick bottom, add the same amount of flour and fry until golden brown. Then carefully pour about 500 ml of milk – slowly, in a thin stream, mixing it constantly with a mixer on low speed. There should be no lumps in the bechamel! Once the sauce becomes homogeneous and boils, you should leave it for a short time on low heat until it thickens. Finally salt, arrange with white pepper and nutmeg.
Veloute sauce is prepared according to a similar scheme – and for many it is known as “meat sauce”: to the fried butter is added not milk, but rich chicken or meat juice. The quality of the meat juice plays a key role here, so it is best to use what is made from a good bone for velvet. After that, the sauce is left to thicken. You can add a few onions and carrots fried in velvet, choose spices to taste – for example, a little paprika or sun-dried tomatoes. Makes a great accompaniment to any dish.
What will we add?
The next question is what to add gravy? Those who are nostalgic for a bygone era, recall: in the dining room, you can simply add a tablespoon of broth to buckwheat porridge, rice or potatoes – and it turned out delicious. That’s right, this is where the sauce comes in – to improve the taste of the simplest products. Try adding gravy to regular sausages, boiled meats or chicken, pasta, mashed potatoes or porridge. There are other ideas – to boil cabbage rolls, meatballs, hedgehog with minced meat with rice, as well as pre-fried meat imitating goulash in it.
You can go a step further – and turn to the recipes for “porridge from an ax” that have been preserved in cookbooks from the time of the USSR. It describes in detail how you can feed a family well, spending a minimum of money.
Here, for example, “Rye cutlets with nuts.” For cooking you will need:
a glass of nuts
4 slices of rye bread,
about 50 ml of milk,
2 cloves garlic
The bread crumbs should be passed through a meat grinder along with nuts, potatoes, onions and garlic, and then add a beaten egg with milk to the minced meat, salt, add pepper and your favorite spices. Then form kittens, baked in bread and fry. Walnuts, of course, can in no way be called the most affordable and cheapest product, but otherwise, why not an option for an anti-crisis menu? Especially if you add such kittens with one of the winning sauces.
There is another option, even simpler and cheaper – oatmeal. They will need:
glass of oats,
2 cloves garlic
100 gr of melted cheese
150 gr ground cricket.
Oat flakes should be boiled in boiling water until softened, salted and pre-seasoned. At this time, fry the onion and garlic in butter or vegetable oil, grate the melted cheese on a fine grater. When the oats have cooled, mix everything, add raw eggs and ground bread crumbs and then form noodles. They can be fried in the pan or baked in the oven.
Here’s another very modest recipe – in case you have to make kitten “with the taste of meat”, but the possibilities are limited. Its indisputable advantage is that you can cook such kittens from pre-cooked pasta left over from yesterday. Ingredients:
600 gr pasta
300 g minced meat or chicken
Boiled pasta should be finely chopped (or immediately take the smallest spider web vermicelli), mixed with minced meat and two eggs. Blind kittens. Leave the third egg for the bread – beat it well and dip in it first the coats and then the bread crumbs. Fry in a pan.