How to make Creole sauce, the most flavorful sauce you will always want
Creole sauce or tomato sauce as many Caribbean islanders call it, is one of the most delicious sauce you can make. Creole sauce is prepared in many ways. It adds flavors to mostly meat and poultry. Very often, the sauce is prepared with leftover marinade, cooking liquid from meat and poultry or with just water, oil, tomato paste, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Flavoring is the key to Creole Sauce.
This type of sauce adds tons of flavor to any roasted, grilled or fried meat or poultry. Many cooks will say that it is almost the cornerstone of making a delicious meal. In my opinion, it depends on your meal. Depending on the dish you are preparing, you may and may not need a sauce.
Why the name Creole Sauce
Wikipedia states that Creole sauce, also referred to as “red gravy,” Creole tomato sauce, and sauce piquant in New Orleans, is a Creole cuisine, Bahamian cuisine, and New Orleans cuisine sauce made by sautéing vegetables in butter and olive oil. It is used in the American south and the Bahamas. It is made with tomatoes, the Cajun holy trinity (celery, bell peppers, and onions), garlic, seasonings, and herbs. Stock (usually chicken) is also used and seasoned with cayenne, hot sauce, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, thyme, and parsley.
Scratch that, but yet don’t dismiss all of it!!! In the Caribbean and specially on the French side, Creole Sauce is also referred as tomato sauce (“sauce de tomate” – not the same as the Italian tomato sauce). Many people prefer to create their sauce with water, oil, vegetables, spices, hot pepper and tomato sauce or tomato paste. A Caribbean authentic Creole sauce is prepared with fresh veggies, fresh spices and fresh herbs. The fresh veggies, fresh spices and fresh herbs are usually found in many homes.
Many cooks and home cooks are opting to prepare the sauce with powdered seasoning either for taste or convenience. Adding powdery spices is a choice. Do not forget that sodium is added to many store-bought mixed spices. You must observe caution if you want a delicious sauce.
Herbs and spices such as parsley, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper are the common ingredients in every home. I usually use fresh or/and dried spices because, in my opinion, they add more flavors. All I have to do is add salt. This way, it is guaranteed that my sauce will be flavorful.
Creole Sauce is a condiment that normally contains lots of onions and also green bell peppers. In many Caribbean homes, adding a whole hot pepper is not uncommon. The use of a whole hot pepper is for flavor enhancement. When the sauce is boiling, the pepper must not break. If it does break, you must remove it immediately, otherwise the sauce will be peppery hot.
If you want a hot and spicy sauce, either slice or finely chop the pepper. The larger the pepper, the more fiery hot your sauce will be. This version is for people who prefer a hot peppery taste on game day or game night and even for a special gathering. For special gatherings, there are usually 2 versions of the sauce, one hot and one mild.
Did you know that there are several types of herbs added to an authentic Creole Sauce? Yes, indeed! Herbs such as parsley and thyme are very aromatic and add a great balance to tomato paste or fresh tomatoes if using. Garlic adds more flavor and is a bit mild if only one clove is added. If it is 2 or more, the garlic taste will be a bit pungent, unless intended for a significant amount of sauce.
Creole Sauce cooking tips:
Now it is time to share some cooking tips. Fresh garlic is the preferred choice for making an exquisite, and rich sauce. Dried basil and bay leaf are also excellent. But there is nothing better than fresh thyme in a simmering sauce. Thyme is very aromatic and is a must in every kitchen.
An alternative cooking way loved by many Islanders:
Many islanders or people from the Caribbean prefer to make this sauce with herbs and spices blend or marinade. It is a preferred choice because the fresh marinade is very flavorful and will make your sauce taste even better. Also, when making this sauce with marinade, it is best to fry or cook the marinade before adding any other ingredients. The reason is that the herbs and spices need time to release their flavors and heat helps the process.
Another alternative cooking way even loved by many islanders:
Making Creole Sauce with leftover cooking liquid from meat or poultry is a great and quick alternative. When making this sauce with leftover cooking liquid from meat or poultry, it is best to reduce the liquid if it is too much, and add your remaining ingredients. It is a good idea to dilute the tomato paste before adding it as well to avoid lumps.
Finally useful instructions to make Creole Sauce
Making this sauce the simplest way is a matter of adding ingredients one after the other after cooking the tomato paste in the oil. The instructions below provide further instructions on how you can make your sauce very flavorful.
- Heat oil in a saucepan
- Add tomato paste or fresh tomatoes (as shown in picture). Mix tomato paste entirely with oil by stirring.
- Add marinade or chopped herbs, spices and veggies and fry for a 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add water or broth and adjust taste. Let boil to desired consistency.
- If cooking with leftover cooking meat and poultry, follow step 1 and step 2 and add marinade, and follow step 4.
- An added and useful tip: adding a couple of drops of lemon or lime juice or even vinegar will take this sauce to another culinary level – very flavorful.
I usually add freshly chopped tomatoes for flavor, preference and because I find it healthier.
Next time you are cooking, do not discard your leftover cooking or marinade. Instead, use them to make the most flavorful and aromatic sauce. Use this wonderful condiment to accompany your grilled, roasted or fried meat and poultry.