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Home Cooking Basics Classic French Espagnole a.k.a Brown Sauce Recipe

Classic French Espagnole a.k.a Brown Sauce Recipe

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espagnole brown sauce

Espagnole (Brown Sauce) & Demi-Glace

espagnole brown sauce
Espagnole sauce is an intermediary sauce

An Espagnole, or Brown Sauce, is a French mother sauce in classical French Cuisine. It is based on beef stock and is an important step in the development of secondary sauces such as demi-glace and Sauce Robert. Because Espagnole is a basic sauce, it is neutral in flavor but embodies the richness that a brown sauce demands. In this article, we focus on the Espagnole sauce (brown sauce).

What Is an Espagnole or Brown Sauce?

The Espagnole or brown sauce is a mother sauce. It is a full-bodied and rich sauce, but neutral in flavor. It is made from a brown stock of which brown roux, mirepoix and tomato puree are added. An espagnole is almost always used to produce a demi-glace. Brown stock can also be used to make a Jul lie. Demi-glace is used to create all of the sauces within the Espagnole family. It is a lot more involved in terms of the process than a veloute or bechamel and is a literal transformation. From a brown stock to an Espagnole to a demi-glace, each step is a completely different flavor and product.

The 5 French Mother Sauces

Espagnole is part of the French Mother Sauces family, of which there are five sauces. With the exception of the Hollandaise sauce, each of these sauces is an intermediary sauce for greater more distinct sauces. Learning to properly make an espagnole or brown sauce is key for anyone interested in the culinary arts.

Recipe for Espagnole Sauce (Brown Sauce)

espagnole brown sauce
Espagnole Sauce
Print Recipe
An Espagnole, also known as a Brown Sauce, is a mother sauce found in classical French cuisines. This is an intermediary sauce, meaning it is used further in the production of more decadent sauces such as demi-glace.
Servings Prep Time
1 Liter 15 Minutes
Cook Time
2 Hours
Servings Prep Time
1 Liter 15 Minutes
Cook Time
2 Hours
espagnole brown sauce
Espagnole Sauce
Print Recipe
An Espagnole, also known as a Brown Sauce, is a mother sauce found in classical French cuisines. This is an intermediary sauce, meaning it is used further in the production of more decadent sauces such as demi-glace.
Servings Prep Time
1 Liter 15 Minutes
Cook Time
2 Hours
Servings Prep Time
1 Liter 15 Minutes
Cook Time
2 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Liter
Instructions
  1. Saute the mirepoix in the oil or butter until it is well-caramelized
  2. Add the flour into your mirepoix to create a roux and cook until you reach a brown roux
  3. Add the tomato puree and stir in to remove any lumps of roux left over
  4. Add the brown stock and bring to a boil, then simmer
  5. Simmer over low heat for 1.5 hours, allowing the sauce to reduce by half. Skim the surface to remove any impurities
  6. Once reduced, strain through fine mesh or cheesecloth
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What Is a Demi-Glace?

demi glace
A rich demi-glace

Demi-glace is French for “half glaze”, which is by definition a mixture of half brown stock and half espagnole sauce that reduced by half. The reason that we create a demi-glace is that is creates an entirely new type of sauce that is then used to make the derivative sauces.

Brown stock is used to make the espagnole or brown sauce as we discussed above. After this has been achieved, we can then use the espagnole sauce to produce a demi-glace. It is traditional to finish a demi-glace with a bit of Madeira or sherry wine. Because the demi-glace creates a much richer, more flavorful base, it produces much finer derivative sauces than those made from an espagnole (brown sauce).

In order to create a good demi-glace, it is important to hold the sauce to certain standards of quality. A properly made demi-glace is rich, smooth and lump free. It primary roasted flavor comes from the bones used from the brown stock. You do not want any taste of roux. The caramelized bones and mirepoix along with the tomato puree contribute to the glossy dark almost chocolate brown color. The consistency should be barely thick enough to cling to food without being pasty or heavy.

Demi-Glace

Yield: 1 L
Prep time: 5 min.
Cook time: 30 min – 1 hour

Demi-Glace
IngredientWeight (Metric)Weight (Imperial)
Brown stock1 L1 qt
Espagnole (Brown sauce)1 L1 qt

What You’ll Need

Procedure

  1. Combine both the brown stock and the espagnole into a saucepan and heat over medium heat
  2. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half
  3. Strain, cool.

Conclusion

Demi glace is decadent on steak and enhances the experience
Demi glace is decadent on steak and enhances the experience

We combined this portion of the espagnole (brown sauce) and demi-glace into one article and will focus on the demi-glace derivative sauces in the next article. Because of how much variety and types of the derivatives there are, it is best to kep them separate.

The espagnole (Brown sauce) and demi-glace sauces are very important steps. While there are other variations that stem off from the brown stock that don’t relate to the espagnole, such as glace de viande,¬†we chose to look at the most important aspect. But as part of the sauces content update, we will be including articles on the elusive and oft sought after glace de viande in an ¬†upcoming post. Stay tuned!

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