There is nothing more French than the sauce that is known as espagnole. It is one of the foundation sauces of French cuisine and is nearly as important as wine, shallots, butter and cream. In most recipes written in English, espagnole is translated as “brown sauce.” Brown sauce is easy to prepare, but it is time-consuming. It frequently is combined with a reduction of butter, shallots and wine as an accompaniment to grilled meats, poultry and game. It is also used to enrich stews and ragouts.
There is nothing that is a perfect substitute for brown sauce, but the closest approximation is canned beef gravy, which may be used in any recipe calling for brown sauce.