Adding dark color to sauces.

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Sometimes when I make beef stew, the resulting sauce/stock is kind of greyish.  I've tried toasting onions longer, darking roux longer. It still sometimes doesn't come out as dark as I'd like.  Any tricks to quickly add more dark caramel color to sauce that's already finished?
 

phatch

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Dark soy sauce. A little goes a long way in color. Not the standard soy sauce.
 
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What I really end up with is the color you see on top of german chocolate cake. Not terrible but I want darker. I worry that soy sauce would effect the taste too much.
 

phatch

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I understand your concern. Dark soy packs a lot of color. That's one of it's uses in Chinese cooking is for dark color.

You won't be adding enough to really shift the flavor, or at least you shouldn't be adding that much.
 
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How about Caramel color for Caramel color, Black Soy is made with Molasses, like the others said, a little goes a long way....
 
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Years ago was called blackjack(caramel but real dark but not bitter)  Gravy master, kitchen bouguet . Dredge meat in flour and saute till real brown use drippings in roux. Brown flour dry first in oven. there are a lot of ways.
 
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In relation to using dark soy, what about oyster sauce? Also very dark and its viscosity won't make any sauce runny.
 
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Oyster sauce would make it taste..... well, "oysterty".... unless that's what you were going for. Quite a bit of sodium also.
 
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There's a relatively tasteless "caramel coloring" made for the purpose, and available from commercial and semi-commercial sources like Smart and Final.  McCormack makes one as well. 

You might want to use a more concentrated and darker stock.  Darken the stock by painting the bones with tomato paste before roasting, then roasting them dark; just plain roast them dark; and/or brown your tomato paste well before adding water. 

Other darkening additions frequently used in stews and meat sauces are beef base (Better than Bullion for instance) and Worcestershire sauce.  Molasses also carries a lot of color but may not be appropriate for your purposes.  I'd keep oyster sauce far away from a beef stew or sauce, but you may think differently.

BDL
 
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i'm not above using kitchen bouquet, in fact i do use it when i want to acheive a nice dark color in a sauce...i use it like an extract, meaning it doesn't take much....it claims to do one thing and it does it well....anything else you add will change your flavor...no to molasses, no to oyster sauce and definately no to soy or tamari( imo)..... if you are against using KB for whatever reason, i'm sure your health food store carries something similar....of course, starting with a good beef base or stock is a no brainer...it does makes a difference....l you could use MAGGi as well.....

joey
 
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86 the soy or oyster sauce or anything of a chinese nature. You said beef stew  not stir fry.(adds totaly different flavors)    

As BDL says and I forgot to add  paint bones with tomato puree.
 
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What about maybe using more red wine and letting it reduce further. will that make the end result darker as well?
 
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Are you coating the stew meat in flour and then searing off in batches to a dark brown color? It drives me nuts when I see cooks crowding the pan and basically boiling the stew meat. Getting that good sear not only develops the flavor of your sauce/gravy, it also deepens the color. The pan fond that is left behind during this step will turn your sauce dark brown as soon as you deglaze with either wine of stock.
 
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Are you coating the stew meat in flour and then searing off in batches to a dark brown color? It drives me nuts when I see cooks crowding the pan and basically boiling the stew meat. Getting that good sear not only develops the flavor of your sauce/gravy, it also deepens the color. The pan fond that is left behind during this step will turn your sauce dark brown as soon as you deglaze with either wine of stock.
Absolutely!

You don't need to color at all when searing the meat properly ànd using the residu stuck on the bottom of the pan. That will indeed result in a much darker stew. Frying onions into a darker caramelized stadium will add just a minium of color, but, above all, may turn the preparation completely bitter!

I do have to add that I always "flour" the meat after searing it in batches like Bishop explains.  
 
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Chris.!  That is exactly what he is doing  Crowding or trying to get finished to fast.

Prieluck!   If you add more wine for color you are adding more wine flavor, the finished  dish may not require that.
 
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I understand your concern. Dark soy packs a lot of color. That's one of it's uses in Chinese cooking is for dark color.

You won't be adding enough to really shift the flavor, or at least you shouldn't be adding that much.
phatch is right, Dark soy goes along way! if you look at the ingredients, caramel colour is often in the top ingredients.  Caramel colour is in fact chemically caramelized sugar.  If you can get your hands on the caramel colour, that will work without adding any flavour. It is an industrial food chemical. 

This company makes it:http://www.sethness.com/?gclid=COa1neeLwaoCFcPBKgodmAxO7g

If you read ingredients you will see that this stuff is everywhere: cola, fondants, candies, icetea, etc...

Luc H.
 
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Why is everyone talking about dark soy?! If you have a properly made stock, caramelize your meat and veg for the stew properly, and reduce the cooking liquid/wine far enough there should be no problem to achieving the proper color to a stew.  Caramel color?! Really?!
 
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