Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sauce Bordelaise

If you've read some of my more recent posts from this summer, you might know that I am sort of obsessed with Le Guide Culinaire by Auguste Escoffier. As you might expect, this recipe was adapted from his book. Adaptation is necessary because when it comes to compound sauces, fully replicating his recipes is near impossible. All of his recipes are designed for professional applications and usually require a great deal of preparation. For instance, he creates a base for the sauce Bordelaise with sauce Espagnole. Sauce Espagnole is made from a brown roux, brown stock, tomato purée, aromatics, and seasonings. The brown roux and stock must be made beforehand, and are quite expensive to make on your own because his roux requires clarified butter only, and because the stock recipe requires expensive beef shin bones. Needless to say, his method for sauce Bordelaise needs streamlining for the home kitchen. I attempt to do so in this recipe.

Sauce Bordelaise translates to Bordeaux sauce in English. Unlike a lot of regionally named recipes, this sauce is not named after the region in which it is made, but rather the wine that is used to make it. With that said, a red Bordeaux is the optimal choice to cook with in this recipe. If a good Bordeaux is too expensive to work with a blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon is an acceptable substitute. The second most important part of this recipe is the beef stock. In my opinion, the stuff from the store just wont do. I recommend buying More Than Gourmet's Galce de Viande (meat glaze) online. It is a bit of an investment at about $30, but it makes 5 gallons of high quality stock. (Which is a steal!) You can also use it as a meat glaze, which is a reduced stock base used in the famous demi-glace sauce. If you don't want to go that route you can always buy the equivalent amount of reduced sodium beef broth.
When all is said and done, you should have some of this sauce leftover. In reality, it is just an elegant gravy, and should be treated as such when used as a leftover. Above I use the warmed sauce on a roast beef sandwich, but you can throw it on some potatoes or however else you wish to use it.

Sauce Bordelaise:
"Espagnole" base:
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, rough chop
1 carrot, rough chop
Generous 1/4 cup flour
4 cups stock made from 4 cups water and 1/4 cup meat glaze, or reduced sodium beef broth
1 large rib of celery, rough chop
Generous 1/4 cup tomato purée
1 Bayleaf

Bordelaise reduction:
2 medium shallots, sliced
1 1/2 cups red Bordeaux wine, or Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend
1/4 fresh lemon
1 tablepsoon meat glaze, *or 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon softened butter
1/4 cup poached bone marrow, passed through a fine sieve or puréed
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Melt the butter over medium heat and then add the onion and carrot. Let these brown slightly, about ten minutes. While this cooks, dissolve the meat glaze in the water over heat, or just heat the stock until simmering.
2. Add the flour and mix well to prevent lumps. Let this cook further until well browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the stock to the roux while whisking to prevent lumps. Once the stock is added, throw the rest of the ingredients in and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally. Let this simmer for about an hour while you prepare the wine reduction and other foods.
4. Place the wine and shallots in a medium sized pot with high sides. Bring this to the boil and then simmer until reduced by half. Remove this from heat and let it cool until the Espagnole base is ready.
5. Once the Espagnole base has reduced to around three cups, pass it through a fine strainer. You should have about 2 to 2 1/4 cups sauce. Add water to the sauce if it is below 2 cups sauce, or reduce further if it is above 2 1/4 cups
6. Add the Espagnole base to the Bordeaux reduction 20 minutes before service. Bring this to the boil and then simmer, stirring occasionally. Right before serving, add the juice of the lemon, the bone marrow, the meat glaze* and salt and pepper to taste.

*If you aren't using the meat glaze, mix the softened butter with the flour to make a buerre manié and then add it to the sauce to thicken it.

1 comment:

  1. Bless you.

    There is one French restaurant in Stuyvesant Plaza that has a bordelaise sauce on their menu. It tasted more like BBQ sauce. And my thought at the time is that the only reason they could get away with that kind of nonsense is that nobody in this town knows what the sauce is or what it should taste like.

    I'm glad to see you didn't omit the bone marrow.


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