The Five Classical French Mother Sauces: Espagnole

The Five Classical French Mother Sauces: Espagnole

The term “mother sauce” refers to any one of five basic sauces, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces.  The five mother sauces:

  • Béchamel
  • Velouté
  • Espagnole
  • Hollandaise
  • Tomate

Espagnole Is a rich, beefy, slightly sweet sauce.  I’m presenting a simplified version of Escoffier’s original sauce which was much more time consuming.  Espagnole is also the basis of Demi-glacé which is a much reduced version of classical Espagnole.

3 tablespoons butter
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flour
5 cups beef stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 traditional bouquet garni (explained here)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup Madeira wine
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the flour and continue cooking until the vegetables and flour are nicely browned. Add the beef stock, garlic, bouquet garni, and tomato paste. Simmer for 1 hour, skimming, until the sauce is reduced by half. Strain through a chinois.

To finish, reduce the sauce by another third, or to about 1-1/2 cups total, in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the Madeira and cook through another 10 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings.

For comparison sake I’ll list the ingredients in a traditional Escoffier espagnole sauce:

  • 13 pounds beef shin, with bones cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 13 pounds veal shank, with bones cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
  • 10 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds pork rind, cut into 3-inch squares
  • 1 fresh pig’s foot, split
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh or 1¼ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 14 bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 3 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • ¼ pound salt pork, diced
  • 2 recipes Sauce Tomate
  • 1 cup Madeira

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