Sauce Bordelaise

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

In the first half of the nineteenth century, recipes for Sauce Bordelaise called for white wine. A similar sauce, Sauce Bonnefoy, is still made with white wine.

Alternatives and Variations

Purists would argue that a sauce without marrow cannot be called a Bordelaise, but the sauce is perfectly good tasting without it. Finely chopped parsley or chervil added along with the butter to finish the sauce will give it a freshness that is otherwise missing, and the green flecks against the deep red background are pleasing to the eye. A teaspoon (5 milliliters) Cognac or Armagnac added just long enough before the end to cook off the alcohol will give the sauce a bit more depth and mystery, as will a drop or two of Kirsch. The finished sauce can be made less rich by adding 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) tomato coulis, which acts as a thickener, and by cutting the butter in half.

Keep in mind that broth-like versions of this sauce can be set into delicate gels. Here, there’s no need to add a gelling agent since there’s plenty of gelatin from the concentrated stock. If the gel is too hard or gummy, thin it with some clear broth or consommé so it sets into a delicate, barely trembling gelée. Consider encapsulating a trace of diluted thyme-infused sherry vinegar (instead of the lemon juice) or flambéed Cognac in tiny spheres (see spherification) and serving them with the hot sauce.

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