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Basic Espagnole Sauce with Variations (Brown Sauce)

No recipe image available.Espagnole (or brown sauce) is one of the mother sauces, the sauces that are the basis of sauce-making in classic French cooking. In the late 19th century, Auguste Escoffier codified the recipe, which is still followed today.

Recipe Ingredients:

Sachet:
1/2 bay leaf
2 parsley stems (no leaves)
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 clove garlic
1 piece of cheesecloth, cut into a 6-inch square
1 piece of butcher's twine, cut 12 inches long

Sauce:
1 small onion, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons additional butter
6 cups beef stock or bouillon, room temperature
2 ounces tomato puree
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. To make sachet, place the bay leaf, parsley stems, thyme and garlic in the square of cheesecloth. Gather up the corners and twist together. Using just one end of the string, tie the sachet closed. The other end of the string (the long end) will be suspended from the handle of the saucepan.
  2. Cut the onion, carrot and celery into medium (1/2-inch) dice. Set aside. Mince garlic.
  3. Heat the 1/2 cup butter in small saucepan until hot. Whisk in the flour (to a paste consistency) and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 to 6 minutes until mixture (roux) bubbles, turns light brown in color and has a nutty aroma. This is called a dark roux. Set aside.
  4. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy, 4-quart stockpot over medium heat.
  5. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté the vegetables, stirring often, for about 5 to 6 minutes or until well browned. Add minced garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked roux to the vegetables, stirring to combine.
  7. Gradually, pour in the brown stock and then the tomato puree.
  8. Tie the pre-made sachet to one handle of the stockpot, letting it dangle in the liquid.
  9. Bring to a boil, skimming off any impurities from the surface, as needed.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to about 1 quart.
  11. Untie sachet. Then pour sauce (and sachet) into a fine strainer or china cap lined with cheesecloth. Use a ladle or spoon to gently press any remaining vegetables through the strainer. Discard the sachet.
  12. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, if desired.
  13. Set over a double boiler filled with warm water until ready to serve. Or cool completely, then cover and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to I week. Sauce may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Makes about 1 quart.

Variations:

Demi-glace: A '"brown stock" is simply a stock made with roasted bones, rather than bones that have only been rinsed and/or blanched prior to use. To make a brown stock, you can use roasted beef or veal bones or roasted chicken bones. In this recipe, we are calling for a brown stock made with roasted beef bones (see Basic Beef Stock). Place 4 cups Brown Stock and 4 cups Brown Sauce/Sauce Espagnole in a heavy, I-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by one-half. Remove from heat. Pour sauce through a fine strainer or china cap lined with cheesecloth. Allow to cool completely. Then cover and store n the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Sauce may also be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes 1 quart

Bordelaise Sauce: Place 1 cup red wine, 2 minced shallots, 1/4 teaspoon crushed black Peppercorns pinch of thyme and 1/2 bay leaf in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 33 minutes or until reduced by three-fourths. Add 1 quart Demi-glace (see above) and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a line strainer (or cheesecloth). Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and drop them, one at a time, into the sauce while stirring constantly to combine. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.

Madeira Sauce: Place 1 quart Demi-glace (see above) in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes until reduced to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup Madeira Wine, stirring to combine. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.

Mushroom Sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy sauté pan over moderate heat. Add 1 minced shallot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms and continue sautéing until brown. Add 1 quart Demi-glace (see above) and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon dry sherry and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.