Espagnole sauce is a classic French sauce perfect for topping meats and pasta. The sauce is made with beef stock, tomatoes, red wine, and herbs, and it has a rich and hearty flavor that's perfect for the creative cook.
Espagnole sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer, so it's perfect for busy weeknight dinners. You can also customize the sauce to your liking by adding different herbs or spices.
The sauce can be used for many dishes, such as Beef Bourguignon or Coq au Vin.
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The history of Espagnole sauce is a bit unclear, but it is believed that the sauce was first created in the early 1800s by a chef named Auguste Escoffier. Escoffier was a famous French chef who helped to create modern French cuisine. He is credited with creating many classic French dishes, including Espagnole sauce.
Espagnole sauce is one of the five basic French sauces, along with béchamel, hollandaise, sauce tomate, and velouté. These five sauces are the foundation of French cuisine and can be used for many different dishes.
There are many variations of Espagnole sauce, but all versions start with a roux. The roux is made by cooking flour and butter together until it is a deep brown color. This gives the sauce its characteristic flavor and thickness.
The beef broth and wine are added to the roux, and the sauce is cooked until thickened. The Espagnole sauce can be used on many different types of dishes, such as beef, chicken, pork, or fish.
How To Make Espagnole Sauce
The process involves making a Roux; a Roux is equal parts flour and butter; sometimes, other fats besides butter are used.
Add to a pot over medium heat;
- Butter - 3 Tablespoons
- All-Purpose Flour - 3 Tablespoons
Melt the butter first, then add the all-purpose flour. It is important to cook on medium to medium-low heat not to burn the roux. At this point, we are cooking out the raw flour in the butter.
Cook the roux until nicely browned. About 3-5 minutes.
Once the roux has browned, add the tomato paste. Some cooks add the tomato paste at the end. We suggest adding it to the roux early to cook out the raw tomato paste, which is a strong flavor and needs to be cooked.
- Tomato Paste - 2 Tablespoons
Classicly, beef stock is used. The stock will affect the quality of the Espagnole sauce. Look for stock instead of broth at the store.
- Beef Stock - 2 ½ cups
Add ⅓ of the stock to the roux. Mix with a whisk and combine. Cook the first addition of beef stock until the sauce starts to thicken. Then, begin adding the rest of the stock until it is smooth.
Recipe: How To Make Homemade Beef Stock
Next, bring the sauce up to a boil. The heat will activate the thickening process from the roux. Make sure to stir the sauce.
Once at the boil, reduce the stovetop heat. The goal is to reduce the sauce and concentrate the flavor. The amount of sauce reduces matters.
Reducing the sauce: Boil off excess moisture and reduce the amount of liquid. This process intensifies the flavor and tightens the sauce's consistency. It's one way to control the texture of your sauce or soup.
The use of the sauce will determine the amount the sauce needs to be reduced.
What is Espagnole Sauce
It is possible to create many different sauces from the original Espagnole sauce. The sauce is the main ingredient in many classic French sauces.
Here are some of the most popular;
- Sauce Charcutière
- Sauce Bourguignonne
- Sauce Africaine
- Sauce Bigarade
- Sauce aux Champignons
Concepts on how to use Espagnole sauce:
- A great addition to other recipes, or sauces, marinades.
- Used in a soup base.
- Glaze to proteins/meats.
- Demi Glaze.
Chef Tip: Do not add the salt before reducing. The sauce reduction will enhance the salt and every other flavor. Add the salt at the end.
What is Demi Glace?
Demi-glace (or demiglaze/demi glaze) is a sauce made from beef or veal stock, Espagnole sauce, and wine. The name demi-glace means "half-glaze" in French, referring to demi-glace being made from a mixture of reduced stock and Espagnole sauce.
The combination of equal parts, Espagnole sauce, and stock. Then reduce by half until thick.
Watch How To Make
📖 Recipe Card
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 2 ½ cups Beef Stock This recipe covers making a sauce. The amount is related to the use of the Espagnole. Have more than 2 ½ of stock on standby. Espagnole can be made into a soup, sauce, glaze, marinade. All of which require a different amount of stock.
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste You may want to add less to begin, test and taste, then adjust to fit your taste buds or uses.
- ½ cup Red Wine Optional
Herbs - Optional Ingredients
- 1 teaspoon Tarragon, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley Pick one or use all four. If choosing one herb, use between 1 to 2 teaspoons. If using all four, use ½ teaspoon of each herb.
- Making the roux: Melt the 4 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown a little, 2-3 minutes. You will smell the nuttiness from the butter once ready. Using a whisk, add in the 3 Tablespoons of All-Purpose flour and stir, incorporating the flour and cooking off the rawness of the flour. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Timing will depend on the stovetop temperature.If using the addition of red wine, once the roux comes together add it. Then cook for 1 minute or so to cook off the alcohol.
- Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste and cook with the roux. The amount of tomato paste to use will depend on your use of the Espagnole. Start with 2 Tablespoons, then taste and adjust.
- Incorporating the stock: Add in ⅓ of the beef stock and stir. The sauce will begin to thicken at this point. Then the thickening begins, add the rest of the stock and keep stirring.Tip: Have extra stock ready to be used. The finished thickness of the Espagnole will relate to what you're using it for.Bring to the boil over medium heat and allow the sauce to reduce. The consistency of the sauce is controlled by how much you reduce the sauce.In a pinch for time? Mix cornstarch and water or stock together to make a slurry. Pour into the non-reduced Espagnole, then turn the heat up. The sauce will thicken very quickly.The more the sauce reduces, the thicker the sauce.
- Finishing the sauce:Once the sauce is to the consistency of your liking, take a taste. Then perform the Taste-Season-Adjust (TSA).The more the sauce reduces the deeper in flavor the sauce becomes.Tip: No salt is added until the reduction of the sauce is completed.
- Sauce Africaine: is a Creole sauce made with African/creole seasonings. It's perfect for spicing up any dish.
- Sauce Bigarade: is a classic French sauce made with bitter orange marmalade. It's great for chicken, pork, or fish.
- Sauce Bourguignonne: is a rich and flavorful sauce made with red wine, onions, and shallots.
- Sauce aux Champignons: is a classic French dish made with a variety of ingredients, but most often, it is composed of butter, onions, garlic, white wine, and cream.