Sauce Robert (Brown Mustard Sauce)

One of the oldest sauces know in the canon of French sauce cookery is the Sauce Robert or Sauce a la Robert. It is a derivative of the mother sauce called sauce Espagnole. It is regarded as one of the small sauces. It is almost by definition a brown mustard style sauce. The five mother sauces are covered elsewhere such as bechamel, veloute, hollandaise, tomato sauce and espagnole.

A number of chefs have described the sauce and it is well defined in cookbooks from the 1600s onwards. It is however much older because this type of sauce was mentioned in early cooking manuals and scripts going back to the 1100s. The name is probably a corruption of another word that has eventually settled on Robert rather than it being somebody’s name.

The sauce is used for pork chops, beef which has been boiled, tongue and heart especially. You can of course prepare your own brown stock for this rather than purchase demi-glace or a bouillon. French or Dijon mustard is best for finishing a sauce of this type. Some chefs use clarified butter but that isn’t necessary unless something richer is needed. Add a pinch of sugar just to bring out the flavour of the onion.

Some chefs like it strained. 

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For 1 litre of sauce:

  • 4 white/yellow medium onions, chopped finely or 5-6 banana shallots
  • 1 large knob of butter (4-6 oz.)
  • 8 fl oz/250ml dry white wine
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 litre of a Demi-Glace, bouillon or your own brown stock.
  • 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or a stronger mustard perhaps such as English mustard
  • 2 tsp/10ml lemon juice
  • one pinch of sugar
  • salt as required
  • a handful of chopped parsley


  1. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt butter.
  2. Add the chopped onions or shallots until yellowed and translucent.
  3. Add the wine.
  4. Add the mustard, any meat extracts, lemon juice, wine, peppercorns and salt (to taste). Add a pinch of sugar.
  5. Cook for about 20 minutes.
  6. If you want it strained, pass through a culinary sieve.
  7. Add chopped parsley.
  8. Serve
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