Monday, December 9, 2013

Espagnole or Brown Sauce


The mother sauces are the five basic sauces as defined by Auguste Escoffier in his 1903 culinary standard Le Guide Culinaire.  The sauces are Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomato and Velouté.  From these revered sauces hundreds of other sauces can be created; hence the name mother sauces.

Espagnole sauce or brown sauce is the basis for creating a demi-glace or bordelaise which you are most apt to see on a menu while dining out.  The brown sauce itself is not really used by itself but more to build upon to create another sauce in its family.  Brown stock is needed to make espagnole and since most of us don’t have the 12 or more hours to make this it is easiest to buy a preferred brand or from a butcher in the area that makes it.


Ingredients
4 TBLS Butter
½ cup Flour
4 cups brown stock 1
2 TBLS Tomato paste
½ cup Onion, finely diced
¼ cup Celery, finely diced
¼ cup Carrot, finely diced
1 Bouquet garni 2

1 Brown stock may be your own recipe or purchase your favorite.  For Escoffier's recipe, click here.
2 Bouquet garni:
3 – 4 Parsley stems
1 Thyme sprig
1 Bay leaf
                Tied together in cheesecloth if you wish.


Directions
In a thick bottomed stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Then add flour mixing well and cook until desired color of dark brown but not burnt to make your roux.  Stir constantly to keep it from burning.  This may take a little time but be patient.

Note:  You can make the roux above and refrigerate for use at a later time.  Or make extra to save time on a future date.  Escoffier would make a large batch and use when he needed it.

Ø  Continue with recipe without chilling the roux:
With roux still warm, begin to add the brown stock a little at a time whisking the mixture so it doesn’t form lumps.  Continue adding all of the stock and whisking to ensure there are no lumps.  Add the tomato paste and mix well.  Next add the mirepoix (onions, celery and carrot) and the bouquet garni.

Cover the pot partially and allow it to simmer on low heat for 2 – 3 hours. Check occasionally and skim if needed.

The sauce should be able to lightly coat a spoon when finished.  If it is too thick, just add a little more brown stock to thin it.  Salt and pepper may be added if necessary.  Strain through cheesecloth to remove the vegetables and herbs.

Ø  Making the recipe using chilled roux (Escoffier’s approach):
Add cold brown stock with the chilled roux in a bowl to dissolve the roux.

In a thick bottomed stock pot, heat the remainder of the brown stock over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat.

Next add some of the heated stock to the roux whisking briskly.  Slowly add the tempered roux into the simmering stock while stirring.  Add some of the stock to the tomato paste and then stir it into the sauce.  Add the mirepoix and the bouquet garni.

Cover the pot partially and allow it to simmer on low heat for 2 – 3 hours. Check occasionally and skim if needed.

The sauce should be able to lightly coat a spoon when finished.  If it is too thick, just add a little more brown stock to thin it.  Salt and pepper may be added if necessary.  Strain through cheesecloth to remove the vegetables and herbs.


Wrap-up
This mother sauce can be chilled or even frozen to use in future recipes.  Making a large batch can save a lot of time for you down the road.




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