It's been a bit hasn't it?!  I've been running around like a mad woman.  I'm surprised I'm even able to stand right now, let alone stay awake long enough to type this.  I've got long days, getting up at 5 am and working and then turning around and going to school at night (or going to the restaurant to work job #2!).  But success doesn't come easy.  It's a long, hard road.  But winning the lottery would help out just a little bit… anybody willing to share the winning numbers?  I'll split it with ya!

Anyway, we've been learning about mother sauces in my Theory class.  What are the mother sauces, you ask?  Well, there are 5 of them.  And they're pretty much the base for hundreds of other sauces.  They include Espagnole (which I'm going to show you today!), Veloute, Bechamel, Tomato, and Hollandaise.

Espagnole (pronounced es-pan-yole) is also called “brown sauce,” but if you want to stick to being fancy, we can continue calling it Espagnole.  It's pretty simple and is basically a gravy.  So when we know the basics, we can improvise and add other ingredients to make even fancier-named sauces – but we'll get into that later on.  Let's get saucin'.


Ingredients:

1 oz. clarified butter
1 oz. flour
2 oz. onion, minced or brunois (a knife cut that is a 1/8″ perfect cube)
1 oz. carrot, minced or brunois
1 oz. celery, minced or brunois
1 teaspoon tomato puree (good ol' ketchup works fine here!)
2 cups beef/veal stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Now, first thing's first.  We start this sauce with a roux.  You know fat + flour = roux.  But wait!  You'll want a digital scale (or old fashioned kitchen scale) for this, because a proper roux is equal parts fat (in this case, clarified butter) and flour, by weight.  This way, enough butter can absorb and take in enough flour to properly thicken.

And another thing about a roux.  There are 3 stages of a roux.  White. Blonde. And brown.  Each stage depends on how long you cook the roux for.  Obviously, we're making “brown sauce” so we want a brown roux.  One key thing about the color of a roux.  The darker the roux, the less thickening power it has.  So basically, it'll just take a little bit longer for your sauce to thicken up if you're going with a dark sauce!

Okay, so I'll stop babbling school talk.

Heat a medium saucepan under moderate heat and add your butter.

Let the butter warm up in the pan for just a minute, then add your flour.

Stir the flour until it's incorporated with the butter.  You'll want to heat your roux until it's almost the color of peanut butter.

Then you'll want to add your onions, carrots, and celery.

Give it a good stir to incorporate the vegetables in with the roux.

Cook the mixture until your vegetables start to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes.  Then add your tomato puree, aka ketchup.

Give it a good stir to incorporate the ketchup into the vegetable/roux mixture.

Then slowly add in your cold beef stock, while stirring.  You want to do it slowly so that you don't get any lumps.

Once you have all your stock in the saucepan, bring mixture to a boil for about 3-5 minutes.  This is to ensure that you cook out your starch in your flour.

Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until mixture is thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

If you can make a line on the back of your spoon and the top doesn't move, you know you've got the right thickness!

Then you'll want to strain your mixture.

And season it to taste with salt and pepper.

And voila!  You have espagnole sauce.  You can use it as is and put it on steaks, or as a gravy for mashed potatoes.  Or you can use it as a base for other sauces like a Perigueux (just add demiglace and truffles!), or a Cherveuil (just add demiglace, red wine, and a dash of cayenne).  The possibilities are really endless! 

Hopefully I'll get some time to post within a couple of days to show you what I did with my espagnole sauce – because it sure was delicious!  Have a great week guys!