Posted by: Part-Time Audiophile | March 15, 2009

Small sauce: Bordelaise

Ok, so there are a million of these. Here’s one we covered in class. Bordelaise.

This is derived from the brown sauce, and it’s basically brown sauce with wine. Generally, you’re going to want to use whatever it is you’re going to be drinking with the sauce, and again, don’t skimp. I’m not saying use your $1000 Bordeaux in your sauce, but at least try and stay in the same family. Serving flank steak with a Cabernet? Use a Cab in the sauce. It’ll have the side benefit of making the wine seem to “go” with the meal, too. Instant magic wine pairing!

And while we’re at it, do the same with your meat — take some scraps and cook them into your sauce. So, do that. Trim your meat. Whatever it is. Take those scraps (1-2 oz are perfectly fine) and sear them in saute or frying pan on high heat with a generous helping of clarified butter. Note — use lean cuts (no fat), or you’ll end up with a greasy sauce. Get ’em nice and browned all over. Remove and reserve.

Take a dollop of the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up all that goodness off the bottom. Then, reduce the heat. Add a fat pat of butter and toss in some chopped shallots. Sweat the shallots, which means, cook them till soft but not taking any color. This takes about 10 mins or so. Next, add about a cup of the wine, a bay leaf, a couple sprigs of thyme, a half-dozen parsley stems and about a dozen peppercorns —  and reduce at a simmer. You’re shooting for the coats-the-back-of-a-spoon consistency, which, depending on how much wine you added, may take a while.

A cheat (depending on how you look at it) would be to add some veal stock at this point, and rely on the gelatin in the stock to thicken it up. When making my stock, I put some of it into ice cube trays just for this reason, and 2 of them added here will do wonders for the consistency, mouthfeel, and generally savoriness of the sauce. Anyway, once you have the consistency, strain the stock. If you have too much fat, you could strain it into a fat seperator, and pour off the sauce back into the pan.

Once back in the pan, on low heat, whisk in a tablespoon or two of butter. This should emulsify the remaining fat with the sauce, resulting in a nice, thick, “creamy” sauce with a great sheen. Check and adjust your seasonings. Finish with some fresh herbs — some finely chopped parsley or thyme leaves would be nice.

Serve “around” your meat. Boom, bordelaise.

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