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Body Builder for Pan Sauces

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2016

We often add gelatin to stews and braises to give them a silky, rich texture that you’d otherwise get only if you started with a homemade broth.

We often add gelatin to stews and braises to give them a silky, rich texture that you’d otherwise get only if you started with a homemade broth (the bones and meat used to make broth contain lots of collagen, which breaks down to form gelatin). When developing our recipe for Better Chicken Marsala (see related content), we realized that adding gelatin to the sauce enhanced its texture in just the same way, giving it a great silky texture. Another test confirmed that the trick worked equally well for enhancing our All-Purpose Gravy (see related content). In fact, just about any preparation that calls for canned broth will likely benefit from the addition of gelatin. We found that 2 teaspoons of gelatin per cup of broth thickens sauces and braises appropriately, while 1 teaspoon per cup is best for dishes with a larger amount of broth, such as soups. Here’s how to incorporate it:

If the broth or sauce is being boiled and then strained (as it is for our gravy), simply add powdered unflavored gelatin along with the broth; if not, bloom the gelatin in a few tablespoons of cold water for 30 seconds to prevent clumping before adding it to the recipe.