Friday, February 8, 2008

Brown Sauce (the French call it Espagnole)

As Dave said in the last post, I could go to the store and buy some bouillon cubes. And be very disappointed in myself; because am not going to culinary school to go to the store and buy bouillon cubes.

Regardless, here's one use of the brown stock.

Here's the beef stock, after cooling.

You don't want that orange stuff; it's all fat.

If it's cold, it's solid, so just chunk it out.

And here's the ingredients for the brown sauce.
Beef stock, bread flour, clarified butter, sachet (bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems), tomato puree and mirepoix (50% onion, 25% carrot, 25% celery)

I still need to get some cheesecloth, so I used the tea infuser again.

Here's the mirepoix; I cut it up into medium dice (1/2" on a side)

You want to use a heavy pan for this; it retains the heat better and it's way easier to cook anything.

Melt the butter.

Make sure you get the pan hot before you add the vegetables; they cook much more evenly.

You want to cook them on medium heat, because you want to lightly brown them. Also, spread them out so you can brown them evenly.

When they're well browned (and not burnt!) add the flour and stir so the vegetables are coated.

Once again, you want to brown this combination, for this is the brown roux.

A roux is a mixture of equal parts clarified butter and bread flour. There is white roux, blond roux and brown roux. The brown roux is cooked the longest, and it gives off a popcorn aroma; meaning the glutens in the flour start to carmelize.

When the roux is browned, and gives off that popcorn aroma, add the beef stock.

Stir well so there are no lumps.

Add the tomato puree and stir with a whip to get the best mixing.

Now, continuously stir until it boils. If you don't stir, the flour will stick to the bottom and burn.

When it boils, bring the heat down low so the sauce is simmering.

Add the sachet, and simmer for about an hour or so until it thickens.

As you can see, a skin will form as it reduces. You do not want to stir the skin back into the sauce, it will give the sauce off flavors, so skim it with some kind of strainer, or just spoon it off.

The sauce should reduce quite a bit, and it should be thick enough so that it coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the sauce through a strainer when it reaches the right consistency.

Press the vegetables lightly with a spoon to release their juices.

And you have a brown sauce.

Here I am combining equal parts brown sauce and brown stock to make a demi glace. You combine the two, put in a pot and recuce by half.

Next time, i'll use the demi glace in a braised rabbit dish.

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