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Cooking School: The Five Mother Sauces – making Espagnole

Espagnole is a basic brown sauce, made from beef or veal stock, tomato puree and mirepoix.

That’s all thickened with a dark brown roux.

Espagnole is one of the five mother sauces, organized in the early 1800s by Marie Antoine-Carene and added onto by Auguste Escoffier. They’re part of the foundation of French cooking.

Many chefs have them committed to memory. Home cooks could use the techniques to add flavor and elevate entrees.

This brown sauce is sometimes used as a base for a demi-glace or boeuf bourguignon.

“It’s basically a brown gravy,” said Adam Swedberg, executive banquet chef of the Historic Davenport Hotel. “It’s delicious. This sauce just goes incredible with a nice piece of steak.”

Veal espagnole with Red Wine

From Adam Swedberg, executive banquet chef of the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane

3 sprigs thyme

3 bay leaves

1 bunch parsley stems

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup red wine

4 cups high quality veal stock

Brown roux (see recipe below)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place thyme, bay leaf, parsley stems, peppercorns, tomato paste and red wine in sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until liquid is reduced by half. Add stock. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in roux, a little at a time, until you get desired thickness. Season as desired.

To make roux: Make dark brown roux by melting 1 stick of butter over medium heat then whisking with 1/2 cup flour until a rough paste forms.

Whisk constantly until it begins to thin and becomes smooth, about 40 to 45 minutes. Store any left over roux in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer for future use.

Notes: To make a demi-glace add equal part veal stock to espagnole and reduce by half.

Stay tuned: The fourth installment will feature veloute sauce.