Quick Basic Brown Sauce with Variations
A quick and easy version of brown sauce—also known as Espagnole, one of the 'Five Mother Sauces'—with variations.
3 shallots or green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup Madeira or sherry
1 (10.5-ounce) can beef bouillon (not consommé)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Sauté the chopped shallots or green onions in the butter.
- Gradually add the wine and bouillon. Let it come to a boil and add the seasonings. Cook down for a few minutes.
- Add beurre manié to thicken to taste. Let simmer for a few minutes and strain.
Makes about 2 cups.
*Beurre manié—French for "kneaded butter"—is a paste made of softened butter and flour (usually in equal parts) that is used to thicken sauces.
- Bordelaise Sauce: Add a little poached marrow to the brown sauce. Adjust the seasoning and add a touch of chopped parsley.
- Sauce Diablé: Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and a few dashes liquid hot pepper sauce to the brown sauce. Stir well.
- Sauce Périgueux: Add finely chopped truffles to the brown sauce.