A sauce of various stock bases thickened with a roux. This is used as a base for other more complex sauces, though it may be used alone. In preparing a velouté sauce, a light stock (one in which the bones used have not been previously roasted), such as chicken or fish stock, is thickened with a blond roux. “Velouté” comes from “velour,” the French word for velvet, and certainly sounds like a name meant to cover a wealth of possibilities. The sauce has many uses, one of the most known is delicious recipe called “a quart of chicken Velouté”.
Velouté was one of the four original Mother Sauces as defined by chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early 19th century. The sauce itself seems to pre-date Carême, and a version of it was included in François Pierre de la Varenne’s massively influential book, The French Cook in 1651. It is one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine listed by Auguste Escoffier in the 19th century, along with Espagnole, tomato, béchamel and hollandaise. The term velouté is the French word for velvety.