Jamie Oliver recipes: Pour some magic over your meals with these simple yet sophisticated sauces

Cook with Jamie: Ooooh saucy! Pour some magic over your meals with these simple yet sophisticated sauces

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 5 October 2012

This week Jamie is cooking up some great sauces

This week Jamie is cooking up some great sauces

This week I’m giving a bit of love to those humble accompaniments – sauces. In my view, if you have a few simple, classic sauce recipes up your sleeve, you’re armed with the weapons to transform a meal really easily.

These recipes are great because they’re mostly super-quick to rustle up, yet really pack a punch. The onion gravy requires a little more time, but it’s one you can leave to tick away, so you’re intensifying all those lovely flavours and getting maximum sweetness and impact.

Both the salsa verde and the honey and mustard sauce can be made in advance if you want to get ahead – just store them in the fridge until needed. I’ve given you a super-speedy food processor method for the salsa verde, but by all means chop and mix everything by hand if you’re confident enough with a knife. All you need to do then is quickly pan-fry or roast some lovely fresh meat or fish, or even a selection of seasonal vegetables, and you’ll have a meal on the table in no time.

Making sauces from scratch also allows you to tweak and season them to your taste, so you’re guaranteed to get a result you’re really happy with, rather than relying on shop-bought ones. Having a gorgeous sauce to add a flavour boost to your meal also gives you the freedom to cook your protein in a really simple way, which is great when you’re using top-quality produce because it allows it to speak for itself.

Ultimately, these recipes are about showing you how easy it is to add bags of flavour to your meal. Hopefully they will inspire you to get into the habit of making your own and trying out different taste combos and ideas to suit your meals. Have fun with them.

HONEY AND MUSTARD SAUCE

Honey and mustard sauce

Honey and mustard sauce

Serves 4

A good splash of white wine vinegar
4tbsp runny honey
3tbsp wholegrain mustard
A good splash of chicken stock or water

Once you’ve pan-fried or roasted your chicken, transfer to a dish and set aside. Pour away any excess fat then place the pan or roasting tray on a medium heat and deglaze it by adding a splash of white wine vinegar and scraping up the flavours left from cooking. Stir in the honey and mustard and let it bubble for a minute until it starts to thicken. If it looks too thick, add a splash of water or chicken stock. Pop the meat back in the pan, coat in the sauce, and season to taste. Place the chicken on plates, then pour the remaining sauce over.

RED WINE SAUCE

Serves 4-6

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

1 bay leaf

A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

Red wine sauce

Red wine sauce

250ml (9fl oz) red wine

200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes

A good splash of chicken stock or water

Once you’ve finished frying your steaks, remove them from the pan and leave to rest. Meanwhile, add the garlic and herbs to the pan for about 30 seconds until smelling good. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, squashing some with a fork so the juices mix together, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are cooked down but just about holding their shape. If it looks too thick, add a splash of water or chicken stock. Season to taste and spoon over your steak.

ONION GRAVY

Serves 4-6

4 onions, very finely sliced

A small knob of butter

Onion gravy is great with bangers and mash

Onion gravy is great with bangers and mash

Olive oil

250ml (9fl oz) white wine

2 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked and finely sliced

300ml (pt) chicken or vegetable stock

Gently fry the sliced onions in the melted butter and a splash of olive oil and cook slowly for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become sticky and dark golden. Add the white wine and simmer for around 5 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by half, then add the sliced sage leaves and stock. Season to taste. Bring the sauce to the boil before generously pouring over bangers and mash.

SALSA VERDE

Salsa verde is great with fish

Serves 6

A handful each of fresh parsley, basil and mint, leaves picked

1 garlic clove, peeled

A small handful of capers

1tbsp Dijon mustard

Juice of 1 lemon

Extra-virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and blitz until very finely chopped. Stir in about 7tbsp oil, or enough to loosen to a spoonable consistency, then season with salt and pepper to taste.