Sauce Bordelaise

This classic French sauce is characterized by shallots infused in Bordeaux red wine and beef marrow. The early bordelaise sauce were made using white wine, sauterne or grave for the infusion. This sauce is a classic example of sauce thickened with molecules as a roux is used to thicken the veal jus (that itself contains a large amount of gelatin).
Recipe for 1/2 litre of finished sauce:
  • 30g butter.
  • 40g carrots.
  • 40g onions.
  • few stems of parsley.
  • 2 sprigs of thyme.
  • 2 small pieces of bay leaf.
  • 20g plain flour.
  • 6 dl (21/2 cups) veal jus or sauce espagnole.
  • 40g finely chopped shallots.
  • 3 dl (11/4 cups) good Bordeaux red wine.
  • 1 pinch of white pepper.
  • 75g butter.
  • 80g beef marrow*.


The following part of the recipe is optional if using a finished sauce espagnole. In a thick-bottom sauce pan, sweat of the carrot and onions cut in mirepoix. Add the flour and cook it slowly until the mixture reaches a nice brown color. Then add the veal jus, the parsley, a sprig of thyme and a piece of bay leaf. Bring to the boil and cook, gently, for 40 minutes. Strain and skim.

In the mean time, take a small sauté pan and pour in the wine, add the shallots, the thyme and bay left over and bring the lot to the boil. Allow to reduce by half. Then add the pepper.

Add the wine shallots infusion to the jus and cook gently for another 15 minutes skimming regularly.

Strain the sauce through a chinois and finish the sauce by whisking in the butter, add the beef marrow and rectify the seasoning.

Note that once finished the sauce cannot boil again or the butter will separate from the rest of the sauce. So, keep it hot into a bain-marie (double-boiler).

* To cook the beef marrow: using a good knife, deeped in hot water, cut the marrow into small dices. Roll them, gently, in some rock salt and cook them in some boiling water for 8 minutes.

"Sauces comprise the honor and glory of French cookery. They have contributed to its superiority, or pre-eminence, which is disputed by none. Sauces are the orchestration and accompaniment of a fine meal, and enable a good chef or cook to demonstrate his talent."


Nut free.