Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

November 1, 2015 7 Comments

Bourdelaise Sauce Recipe

A Classic French Brown Sauce From Bordeaux

A classic French sauce named for the famous Bordeaux wine region in France from where it was first developed. I have looked high and low on the Internet to find an individual source to give credit for this sauce, but have not been able to find anyone.

What I did learn by researching this sauce is there are a lot of variations featuring a variety of ingredients. What they all have in common is a Bordeaux style red wine and I guess if you truly want to call it Bordelaise, it should be made with a French Bordeaux wine which is typically a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Merlot grapes.

Why So Many Variations?

My guess is because this sauce comes from a region and not an individual chef, different families in the Bordeaux region made their own family variations, used Bordeaux wine and called it Bordelaise sauce.

One family used bone marrow, another didn’t.  One family finished the sauce with butter, another cream.  If you make a sauce using a  nice red Bordeaux wine and some demi glace, you have a Bordelaise.

Bordeaux is one of France’s premier wine regions. Ergo, “Bordelaise” in its most general form, refers to a wide range of dishes that incorporate wine, most notably Bordeaux wine. Bordelaise sauce is a classic French sauce made from brown sauce infused with shallots, bone marrow, herbs, and of course, wine.

Bordelaise sauce works particularly well with fillet mignon. (The actual cut of meat in its whole form is called the tenderloin. When cut into individual steaks or medallions it is then called fillet mignon.)

While being the tenderest cut of meat, tenderloin is not the most flavorful. Here’s where a Bordelaise can really shine. Employ a heartier red such as Cabernet Sauvignon or ideally, a Bordeaux. You don’t need an expensive one; just one that is good enough to drink.

Did You Know New Orleans Have Their Own Bordelaise Sauce?

Yes, they do but their versions are not too similar. Theirs feature garlic, parsley and butter but no red wine or demi glace.  I have no idea how they came up with their sauce but they serve it with steak, chicken, oysters and their famous escargot bourguignionne.


Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Bordelaise Sauce Recipe


1 ounce butter (1/4 stick)

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 cup Bordeaux red wine (Substitute any claret style red wine)

1 sprig fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorn

1 cup demi glace

4 ounces diced beef bone marrow

How To Prepare At Home

Prep the ingredients by removing the thyme leaves from the stems. Save the leaves and discard the stems. Crack the black peppercorns.

To prep the bone marrow, dice the bone marrow, and simmer in a small pot of water for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the dicd marrow and reserve.

Heat up a sauce pan over medium heat. When hot, add the butter, melt and then the shallots.

Sauté the shallots for a couple of minutes until they become translucent but be careful not to let them burn.

Remove the pan from the heat source, add the red wine, return the pan to the heat and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fresh thyme & cracked peppercorns

Continue reducing the liquids until most of the wine is cooked off.

All the cookbooks say, “cook to an essence” and to me that just means cook until there is very little liquid left in the pan.

Add the demi place to the pan and simmer for approximately 6 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Be sure to stir every so often so the sauce does not burn.

Add and stir the reserved bone marrow to the sauce and continue simmering until the marrow has melted and becomes well incorporated into the sauce.

Reduce the sauce until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

This sauce is good on most cuts of grilled meats including venison but is especially great on beef tenderloin or juicy sirloin steak.





Last modified on Mon 7 October 2019 11:41 am

Comments (7)

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  1. trish says:

    Hello, and thankyou for the recipe. I’m interested to see that you don’t use butter to emulsify the sauce at the end of cooking. What would the difference in the end result be with the two variations (ie with and without butter)?

    • Sparks13 says:

      Butter and marrow are both high fat substances that will emulsify the sauce. The difference will lie in the flavor each imparts. If you’ve never tried bone marrow, do. It’s delicious, and will intensify the beef flavor of the sauce.

  2. damian m lehman says:

    hello, just thought i would make a few comments. this is a classical sauce. it was originated in the are of bordeux not because of the wine, so any red wine will work. all chefs eventually will change a recipe. however this is a classical sauce. certain things do not ever change. shallots, red wine, lemon juice, demi glace and bone marrow are a must. if not you are making something else. place butter at the end of any demiglace sauce is typical to round it out. heavy cream is not unless your wanting your sauce to look like stroganoff. check books like escoffiers sauce bible or the professional chef for classical sauces

  3. Andy says:

    I was trained to leave nice slices of marrow in the sauce. This provides an added texture and surprise goodie, but also proves that you used bone marrow.

  4. Johnathon says:

    90% of the recipe is making the demi glacé and you just skimmed over that entire process by saying 1 cup…

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