Browning Sauce

What is browning sauce? And where can I find it at the store? —J.K., Selma, North Carolina

Browning sauce is a blend of caramel color, vegetable concentrates and seasonings. Available since the early 1900s, the sauce is used to add a rich dark color to foods. Traditionally added to gravies and sauces, browning sauce also works well in soups and stews to darken the broth. Today's time-crunched cooks sometimes brush or stir browning sauce into beef, poultry or pork prepared in the microwave to give it an oven-roasted appearance. In some grocery stores, browning sauce is located near the prepared and dry gravy mixes. Two popular brands are Kitchen Bouquet and Gravy Master. A little browning sauce goes a long way, so be sure to measure it carefully. A teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet provides 15 calories, no fat and 10 mg of sodium—not a bad trade-off for a richer, more appealing color in many prepared dishes.