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Espagnole Sauce Recipe - The Basic Brown Sauce

Espagnole sauce is one of the classic ‘mother sauces’ in Fresh cuisine, making it important for your tastebuds and your cooking skills.

March 17, 2021
Espagnole SaucePhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4 people
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 20 mins
Total 25 mins



  1. Begin by melting the butter in a small saucepan, and then adding in your diced onions. Cook over low heat until the onions are caramelized.
  2. Add the flour, coating the onions, and absorbing any juices in the pan.
  3. Slowly whisk the stock into the mixture in the pan, making sure to break up any lumps while you whisk. When you’ve added in all of the stock, add the tomato puree and bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
  4. Skim off any impurities and skin that rise to the surface of the sauce. Continue to boil until the total volume of the sauce has reduced by half - this could take about thirty minutes.
  5. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Make sure to use it while it’s still hot!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Espagnole Sauce
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 8 mg2.7%
Sodium 267 mg11.6%
Potassium 84 mg1.8%
Protein 1.5 g3%
Total Fat 3.1 g4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • While the beef stock is traditional for this sauce, don’t be afraid to use veal, lamb, or venison stock instead - they’ll all work wonderfully.
  • Making a roux can be quite daunting. The best thing to bear in mind is to add the liquid slowly and whisk continually - you’ll get a great, smooth sauce every time.
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Espagnole sauce is also known as brown sauce and is considered to be extremely culturally important in a number of ways. It’s more than just a gravy - instead bringing together a number of fantastic ingredients to turn the volume up on any beef dish.

What is Espagnole Sauce Made Into?

Espagnole sauce is an extremely rich and flavourful sauce that is used for a number of different things. Typically, it isn’t served directly on food because the sauce is so intensely flavorful. Instead, it serves as the starting point for a number of different sauces. This is why it is known as a mother sauce.

Most commonly, Espagnole is made into a simple demi-glace sauce which is served on red meat. A typical demi-glace is made using a one-to-one ratio of Espagnole sauce and brown stock.

The combined sauce is then reduced by half, strained of any leftover impurities, and finished with sherry wine. The resulting sauce is very flavorful and is sometimes further cooked and processed as a base for other sauces.

Why is Espagnole Sauce Named That Way?

The name of Espagnole sauce is a bit of a strange one. It is a common component of traditional French cooking, and as such the name ‘Spanish sauce’ may come as a bit of a surprise. Well, the origin of the name itself is actually debated quite hotly in a number of different cooking communities.

One side of the community says that the sauce is named as it is because it makes use of Spanish tomatoes. Supposedly, during the wedding of Louis XIII and his bride, Anne, the Spanish cooks insisted upon improving the rich, brown sauce of France with Spanish tomatoes. The new sauce they created was named Spanish sauce in honor of its creators.

The other side of the community argues that the sauce was first created when Spanish fashions first came to Paris under Louis XV.

The olla podrida, a Spanish dish, struck inspiration into the heart of French chefs, encouraging them to replace beef in their dishes with bacon, ham, and the red Estremadura sausage. The sauce that came out of this fusion of two cultures became the Espagnole sauce that we see today.

Can you Freeze Espagnole Sauce?

You certainly can! If you make a batch of Espagnole sauce and want to save it for later, you can place the sauce in the fridge for up to twenty-four hours, or the freezer for up to three months.

If you do this, make sure to bring the sauce up to a steaming temperature when you reheat it in order to avoid food poisoning.

The recipe that we include in this sauce is for a particularly small amount. Generally speaking, it will yield about half a cup of sauce if properly reduced. Keep the ratio of ingredients the same, and you can increase the volumes up or down for more or less sauce, should you want to.

The prep time for this sauce is roughly four minutes - it’s mostly just getting things out of cupboards and quickly measuring them. The actual cooking time is fifteen minutes plus the thirty minutes that the sauce takes to reduce to a good consistency.

If you make a larger volume of the sauce, you’ll likely want to reduce it for longer - go by when the sauce reduces in volume by half rather than by the simmering time that you’re giving it.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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