The beauty of cooking with cream is that it is so stable: it can be boiled, uncovered, the only consequence being that it reduces and thickens.
Pure cream is unlikely to curdle, but to be absolutely certain your cream remains heat and acid stable, use Anchor Cooking Cream. It has already been reduced, and has been designed specifically for hot kitchen applications, such as sauces, soups and pasta dishes. It provides up to 40 per cent better yield with superior coating abilities and reduced cooking time. Best of all, it is totally forgiving: sauces can be made ahead of time, chilled and reheated during service without any splitting or loss of quality.
By making a simple flour and butter roux and stirring in stock and cream, you have a cream sauce base for fish, chicken and veal. Naturally, your choice of stock needs to match the end use – fish fumet for fish, chicken stock for chicken, veal stock for veal.
Cream sauce lends itself to endless variations – chopped fresh tarragon (stirred in just before serving), fines herbes (chives, parsley and chervil), dried porcini mushrooms (either reconstituted and chopped, or powdered in a coffee grinder set aside for the purpose) or a dash or truffle oil.
Whatever the flavouring, bear in mind that the taste of cream is mostly the taste of fat, and that anything to which cream is added will become more delicate and restrained in flavour. So be bold with the seasonings if your cream sauce is not to taste bland.
Roast Garlic & Thyme Cream Sauce
For 6 portions:
Large bunch of thyme
500ml Anchor Cooking Cream
30 Cloves of garlic
Lemon juice to taste
This is perfect with any form of roast lamb – rump, rack, backstraps, leg or shoulder.
Pour the cream into a saucepan, add the thyme, and bring the cream to the boil very slowly and carefully. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and leave for an hour, to infuse the thyme. Remove the branches of thyme and discard. If the leaves have dropped off, you may have to pass this infused cream through a sieve into a bowl.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 180 C.
Do not peel the garlic cloves, but hold the tip and tail of each clove between your thumb and forefinger, and squeeze. The skin should pop open in one or two places, down the seams. If you don’t do this, the cloves may explode in the oven.
Place the whole cloves on an oven tray and roast for 10 – 12 minutes, until the skins are just burnt at the edges. Take care – garlic can easily over-cook and burn!
Remove the garlic, allow to cool a little, then peel.
Using either a stick blender or a food processor, puree the peeled garlic cloves with the infused cream. Add salt to taste, and a squeeze of lemon to sharpen the sauce slightly. For a more refined presentation, pass this sauce through a sieve.