by: Max M Rasmussen

Sauce Espagnole - The Sauce of the Sauces

This is a brown sauce on steroids. Apart from the fact that it takes 10 hours to prepare the stock, it takes almost as long to prepare the sauce finished afterwards. It is "the" classic brown sauce which is known from Escoffier's cookbooks. Restaurants use it rarely more because they found it too difficult. But I think it's all worth the effort. The best "brown sauce" I have tasted.


Makes 500 ml / 2 cups

roux / thickener

  • 3 tbsp oil or animal fat
  • 60 g (2 oz) of smoked bacon
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ carrot, diced
  • 30 g (1 oz) wheat flour


  • 1 liter (1 quart) dark stock
  • bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, laurels)
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • salt
  • pepper


Heat the oil/fat in a pan. Add the bacon and fry until its fat melts.

Brown then onion and carrot in the fat.

Add the flour and fry the mixture until it is dark brown, approx. 5 minutes. Stir occasionally so it does not burn. (Flour being toasted tan in fat like this is called a "roux ".)

Bring the stock to a boil. Remove the roux from the heat and let it cool slightly and whisk in 3/4 of the stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, while whisking constantly until it thickens.

Add the bouquet garni, tomato and tomato puree. Let the sauce simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove the foam often, especially at the beginning and stir it occasionally. To clear the sauce you add to the rest of the stock during simmering and remove the floating foam carefully.

When the sauce is reduced by half, and has become glossy, and concentrated in flavor, it has to be sieved with a fine sieve.

Season with salt and pepper.

It is now ready to be served. Enjoy.


There are 500 ml of this recipe. Since it takes a long time to make, it is advisable to make a larger batch and then freeze down portions and take up as needed. Felel free to make a much larger portion. :-) (Expect to use 70-100 ml sauce per person.