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 I have yet to find one.
What I learned by researching this sauce is that there are many variations featuring various ingredients. However, what they all have in common is a Bordeaux-style red wine. Therefore, if you truly want to call it Bordelaise, it should be made with a French Bordeaux wine, typically a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Merlot grapes.
Why So Many Variations?
Because this sauce comes from a region and not an individual chef, different families in the Bordeaux region made their 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 and another with cream. So if you make a sauce using an excellent 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 wine.
Bordelaise sauce works particularly well with fillet mignon. (The actual cut of meat in its complete form is called the tenderloin. It is called fillet mignon when cut into individual steaks or medallions.)
While being the tenderest cut of meat, there are more flavorful options than tenderloin. Here’s where a Bordelaise can shine. Employ a heartier red such as Cabernet Sauvignon or, ideally, a Bordeaux. You don’t need an expensive one, just one good enough to drink.
Did You Know New Orleans Have Their Own Bordelaise Sauce?
Yes, they do, but their versions are different. For example, their Bordelaise sauce features 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 bourguignon.
Bordelaise Sauce Recipe
- 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 it and simmer it in a small pot of water for 3 to 4 minutes. Then, drain the diced marrow and reserve.
- Heat a saucepan 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. Finally, 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 means to 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 incorporated well 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.
Some of My Favorite Sauce Recipes
My Top Choices for Demi Glace