Typically used for all types of meat, this sauce uses a brown stock and a brown roux. Because the flour loses some its thickening ability in the longer cooking time, it lends texture and body, but not a full thickening quality, to the sauce.

...Make Brown/Espagnole Sauce

Step by step

1 Gently frying the bacon to render the fat.

2 Frying the carrot and celery to colour lightly.

3 Caramelising the carrot, celery and onion to a deep golden colour.

4 Stirring the flour into the vegetables.

5 Skimming the fat from the surface of the sauce during simmering.

6 The finished sauce reduced to a light syrupy consistency and ready to use.

A note on browned flour...

To speed up the process of browning the roux, the flour is first browned in the oven. This result is the same as if the flour was browned in the fat. Put a few tablespoonfuls of plain flour into a small roasting tin and place in an oven preheated to 180ºC for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned.

Demi-glace...

A demi-glace sauce is a richer brown/espagnole sauce. Combine equal parts of brown/espagnole sauce (see left) and brown chicken and veal or beef stock and reduce by half, then strain and season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients

Makes 200-250ml

2 tbsp vegetable oil

50g unsmoked bacon

1/4 carrot

1/4 celery stick

1/2 onion, inner core discarded

1/4 tsp tomato pure

2 tsp browned flour (see notes at end of tutorial)

600ml brown chicken and veal stock or 600ml beef stock

A few button mushrooms

bouquet garni (1⁄2 celery stick, 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig and 1 parsley sprig tied together)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or frying pan. Derind and dice the bacon, add to the pan and fry lightly to render the fat. Once golden, transfer it to a bowl, leaving the fat in the pan, and set the bacon aside.
  2. Wash and peel the vegetables and cut them into 1 cm chunks. Reheat the fat in the frying pan and fry the carrot and celery over a medium heat until starting to shrivel and take on a little colour.
  3. Add the onion and allow the vegetables to caramelise and become a deep golden colour. Take care not to scorch or over-brown them as the sauce will be bitter. Equally, don’t sweat the vegetables or the sauce will be too sweet.
  4. When the vegetables are browned, add the tomato purée, stir in and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the browned flour and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return the bacon to the pan, add the stock, mushrooms and bouquet garni and bring the sauce to a simmer.
  5. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and continue to cook gently for 1½–2 hours, skimming occasionally. Be careful to skim off only the fat or the sauce will be too thin. To ensure the vegetables are completely covered in liquid, a little extra water might need to be added during the cooking process.
  6. Strain the sauce carefully through a chinois or fine sieve into a clean pan. Do not push the vegetables through or they may break up and turn the sauce cloudy. Taste and reduce the sauce to concentrate the flavour as required; it should be a lightly syrupy consistency. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Variations...

Bordelaise sauce: Sweat 1 finely diced shallot in 10 g butter. Once the shallot is very soft, add 350 ml red wine (ideally a Burgundy) and reduce until syrupy, to about 2–3 tablespoons. Add 200 ml brown/espagnole sauce to the red wine reduction, with 1 bay leaf and 1 thyme sprig. Reheat and simmer gently for 5–10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and discard. Season with salt and pepper. Monter the sauce, by whisking in a nut of butter.

Chasseur sauce: Reduce 250 ml dry white wine until syrupy, to about 1–2 tablespoons. Add 200 ml brown/espagnole sauce to the reduced wine and set aside. Sweat 1 finely diced shallot in 15 g butter. Add 40 g finely sliced button mushrooms and sauté for 2–3 minutes, driving off the water released from the mushrooms. Add ½–1 teaspoon tomato purée and cook for 1 minute, then add the reduced wine sauce and stir well. Add 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Madeira sauce: Combine 5 tablespoons Madeira with 1 teaspoon glace de viande and simmer until reduced by half. Add 200 ml brown/espagnole to the Madeira reduction. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Monter the sauce, by whisking in a nut of butter, to enrich it further and give it a shine, if you wish.

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