How to Prepare Sauce Espagnole

The sauce Espagnole is one of the classic mother sauces that Escoffier was so keen on. It is a brown sauce prepared from brown stock, mirepoix, and tomatoes. It should be thickened with a roux. The nature of the Espagnole which is French for Spanish may come from the use of tomato.

A brown stock is needed and can easily be prepared otherwise a bought stock,  Demi-Glace or a bone broth can be used. It could serve as a base for an addition of French mustard for a rich sauce Robert.

Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes.

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For 1 litre of sauce:


  • 2 litres of brown stock/demi-glace/beef stock
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 20g all-purpose flour
  • 20 cl of tomato puree
  • 30 g of breast bacon finely diced
  • 50g carrots – about 1 large carrot coarsely chopped
  • 50 g onions, about 1 large onion cut into large quarters 
  • 1 celery stick with leaves – coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • A bouquet garni of 2 or 3 parsley stalks, 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme and 1 or 2 bay leaves, tied with string


  1. Cut the carrot, celery and onion into a brunoise which is finely cut as possible to produce a brunoise
  2. Heat a skillet or frying pan and add the butter which is melted.
  3. Fry the bacon gently for about 5 minutes .
  4. Heat the brown stock in a large saucepan over a medium heat
  5. Add the brunoise and bacon to the brown stock
  6. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down.
  7. Add small amounts of flour to create a roux in the saucepan 
  8. Whisk to bind the sauce. Add the bouquet garni, peppercorns and the tomato purée. Simmer gently for 30-40 minutes.
  9. Strain the sauce through a cooking sieve.
  10. Keep cooking on a very low heat for 5 minutes.
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