Sauce Espagnole

Sauce Espagnole is a rich, reduced brown stock made with tomatoes and a mirepoix of browned vegetables thickened by a brown roux. From this sauce mère can be made its most “popular” children or petites sauces: Bordelaise and Madeira. It is also known as a demi-glace.

According to Alan Davidson, in The Oxford Companion to Food, “The name has nothing to do with Spain, any more than the counterpart term allemande has anything to do with Germany. It is generally believed that the terms were chosen because in French eyes Germans are blond and Spaniards are brown.”

Sauce Espagnole

1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup AP flour
4 cups hot beef stock
1/4 cup tomato purée
2 toes garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Cook the carrot and onion in butter in a heavy saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (about 7 to 8 minutes). Add flour and cook roux over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until medium brown. Add hot stock, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then add tomato purée, garlic, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaf and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3 cups, this will take about 45 minutes.

When sauce is reduced, pour sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

Remember, if the roux burns you have to start all over, some people take the extra step of cooking the roux separately because of this; granted if you do cook the roux separately you will be lacking some of the richness from the browned vegetables cooked in the roux. If you choose this option, you will need to add an extra 2 tablespoons of butter to the recipe in which to sautée the vegetables.

Madeira Sauce

Sauce Espagnole
1/4 cup Madeira wine
optional: 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

Follow the recipe for the Sauce Espagnole above. Add wine in the last five minutes of cooking. Optionally add 1/4 cup of mushrooms to round out the sauce.

Bordelaise Sauce

2 cups Sauce Espagnole
1 6-inch long marrow bone (ask your butcher)
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, diced fine
1/2 cup dry red wine (traditionally a good Bordeaux)

Place marrow bone in a small sauce pan with enough water to cover, bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the bone until the marrow is cooked and can be pressed out of the bone, about 10 minutes. Remove the marrow and press through a strainer. In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the shallots and marrow until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add the wine and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in the Sauce Espagnole and simmer before serving.

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