espagnole sauce
Great for hearty roasted or pan-fried meat dishes, Espagnole sauce (a.k.a brown sauce) is one of the more complex one amongst the French mother sauces. An important sauce to learn for every great cook, as it serves as a starting point for demi-glace and many other great secondary sauces such as Bordelaise, Chasseur and Robert.

This sauce is made from brown roux and brown stock (roasted bones), with addition of tomatoes towards the end. The process may be rather involved if you choose to make your own brown stock, but the resulting flavour makes it all worthwhile as its freezable in your ice cube trays. A little upfront effort on a weekend for weeks of easy, amazing meals seems like a no-brainer to me.   

Espagnole Sauce Recipe

Ingredients
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 30g tomato puree
  • 100g mirepoix: onion, celery and carrots in the ratio of 2:1:1, chopped
  • Bouquet garni (a sachet containing 1 bay leaf, 1-2 sprigs each of fresh parsley and thyme)
  • 1 litre of roasted beef or veal stock

Tools
  • 2 medium (preferably heavy-based) saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spatula / spoon

Method
  1. Heat up beef or veal stock to soft boil. Set aside.
  2. On a separate saucepan, sweat mirepoix in butter in a pot over medium heat until brown and soften.
  3. Add flour, stir constantly to cook until a golden roux is achieved (8 min).
  4. Add hot stock slowly, constantly whisking to prevent lumps. 
  5. Finally, add tomato puree and bouquet garni. Bring to boil whilst stirring continuously.
  6. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer for an hour, stirring and skimming occasionally until reduced.
  7. Strain sauce through a chinois.

Demi Glace Recipe
Making demi glace ("demi-glahz") is easy once Espagnole sauce is ready. Simply combine equal amounts of roasted beef/veal stock and simmer until it's reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon. If this is the final sauce, season to taste and strain prior to serving.

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