Deutsch: Espagnole-Sauce / Español: salsa española / Português: molho espanhol / Français: sauce espagnole / Italiano: salsa spagnola

Espagnole is one of the five mother sauces in classical French cuisine. It is a rich brown sauce made from a brown roux, veal stock, tomato paste, and mirepoix (a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery). Espagnole serves as the foundation for many other sauces and is essential in French culinary tradition.


Espagnole sauce, also known as brown sauce, plays a crucial role in classical French cuisine. This sauce is characterized by its deep, complex flavor and dark color, achieved through careful browning of ingredients. The preparation of Espagnole involves several key steps:

  1. Making the Brown Roux: A roux is made by cooking equal parts of flour and butter until it reaches a rich brown color. This process develops a deep, nutty flavor that is fundamental to the sauce.
  2. Adding Mirepoix: Onions, carrots, and celery are added to the roux and cooked until they begin to caramelize, further enhancing the sauce's depth of flavor.
  3. Incorporating Stock and Tomato Paste: Veal stock and tomato paste are added to the browned roux and mirepoix. The mixture is then simmered, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken.
  4. Straining: The sauce is strained to remove solids, resulting in a smooth, velvety texture.

Espagnole is a versatile base that can be used to create a variety of derivative sauces, such as demi-glace, Bordelaise, and Chasseur. Its rich, robust flavor makes it ideal for pairing with hearty dishes like roasted meats and stews.

Application Areas

Espagnole is used in numerous dishes and preparations:

  • Demi-Glace: A reduction of Espagnole and veal stock, creating a highly concentrated, flavorful sauce often used in fine dining.
  • Bordelaise Sauce: Made by adding red wine, shallots, bone marrow, and herbs to Espagnole, typically served with grilled meats.
  • Chasseur Sauce: Incorporates mushrooms, shallots, white wine, and herbs into Espagnole, perfect for poultry and game dishes.
  • Sauce Robert: A combination of onions, white wine, mustard, and Espagnole, commonly paired with pork.
  • Beef Wellington: Espagnole can be used as a component in the rich sauce accompanying this classic dish.

Well-Known Examples

  • Demi-Glace: Used in high-end cuisine to add depth and complexity to meat dishes.
  • Bordelaise Sauce: A staple in French restaurants, enhancing the flavor of steak and other grilled meats.
  • Chasseur Sauce: Popular in rustic French cooking, bringing earthy flavors to game and poultry.
  • Sauce Robert: Known for its tangy, mustard-infused taste, ideal for pork dishes.
  • Beef Wellington: Often accompanied by a sauce derived from Espagnole, adding to its luxurious appeal.

Treatment and Risks

While Espagnole is a foundational sauce with many uses, there are some considerations:

  • Complex Preparation: Making Espagnole from scratch requires time and skill, as the process involves multiple steps and careful monitoring to achieve the desired flavor and consistency.
  • High in Fat and Sodium: The use of butter, flour, and stock can make Espagnole high in fat and sodium. It should be consumed in moderation, especially by those with dietary restrictions.
  • Allergy Considerations: The inclusion of ingredients like butter and flour means Espagnole is not suitable for those with dairy or gluten allergies. Alternative recipes can be adapted for these dietary needs.

Similar Terms

  • Velouté: Another French mother sauce, made with a light roux and stock (usually chicken, veal, or fish), creating a lighter, more delicate sauce.
  • Béchamel: A white sauce made from a white roux and milk, often used in pasta dishes and gratins.
  • Tomato Sauce: A mother sauce made from tomatoes, used as a base for many Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
  • Hollandaise: A rich, creamy sauce made from egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice, commonly served with eggs Benedict and vegetables.


Espagnole is a cornerstone of French cuisine, known for its rich flavor and versatility. This brown sauce, made from a combination of roux, veal stock, tomato paste, and mirepoix, serves as the foundation for many classic sauces. Its complex preparation process and deep, robust taste make it a valuable component in a variety of dishes, from high-end culinary creations to traditional French fare.


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