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Espagnole Poll

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
The mother sauce got me thinking ...

I learned European style cooking in the brigade of an old-line and then very big-deal San Francisco restaurant called The Blue Fox, in the early seventies. For one reason and another, I left to go to the first California Cuisine joint, Chez Panisse in Berkeley. This means I had some training in post-war classic cuisine, and some in the nouvelle reaction which pushed it away. From a theoretical standpoint, I consider Pelliprat to be my strongest influence in the classics; and, Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower (naturally) in modern; with the gang that wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking (including but by no means limited to Julia Childs), and Julia Childs and Graham Kerr as TV instructors, bridging the gap.

Escoffier named five meres: Espagnole, bechamel, veloute, tomate, and hollandaise/mayonnaise. Careme named only three, one of them allemande. Most "French" technique chefs still use bechamel and a simplified, barely-recognizable tomate as mothers. At any rate, I see derivatives in high-zoot big city restaurants. It seems though that veloute has taken a big hit and the still dominant Nouvelle/California trend has been to replace them with reductions. Regarding espagnole specifically, at the Fox we made stock, from the stock we made espagnole, from espagnole we went to daughter sauces like demi-glace and brown sauce, then went from there. At Chez P we made stock, fortified and reduced it, making what Julia Childs called semi-demi glace, and either left it at that or took it from there.

So here's the poll:

How many of you pros make espagnole?

Or, use espagnole as the intermediate step between stock and demi-glace?

If you make espagnole, but not for demi-glace, why do you make it?

How many make demi-glace as a, more or less straight, reduction from stock?

If this is how you (as most chefs) do it, were you aware that espagnole is the classic mother.

Have you ever made espagnole?

Do you think it can stand on its own? Or is its only use as a mother?

Be honest, how many of your employers make you use Demi-glace Gold? (I know you would never.)

Do you think it's fair to term the sauce that's the basis of mac and cheese both as mornay and as a bechamel daughter? Do you think of it as daughter and mornay when you're making mac?

Do you consider the Escoffier/Careme meres as your mother sauces? Or, are there other more modern mothers? For instance, buerre (ala buerre blanc) structured sauces.

What percentage of the sauces you make are from mothers? What percentage are from what you'd consider specialty sauces, that is without mothers?

Does anyone still make allemande as a mother sauce?

post #2 of 14
Arm raised high in air!!!!:bounce:

Depends on the recipe

A couple dishes that I still make call for the use of espagnole as the base to the sauce.

Again hand raised high in the air:bounce:

Yea and still one of my favorites


Nea. I do enjoy the flavor yet I still believe that when used as a mother combined with additional ingredients it adds depth to the final sauce

One:blush:... and it cost me my position in the end.:mad:

Actually that one will require more thought.

I was taught to always respect your mother......and that includes sauces too.:D:beer: So......Escoffier for the first part and I have found use and success with sauces like a buerre blanc , reduction, etc.


Ummm errr uhhhhh........About every three blue moons or so but stricktly for home entertaining. ;) It's one of those I like to pull out to use as a dazzler for some of the older generation that resides in our neighborhood. Kind like at the holidays or very special dinners.
post #3 of 14
I cannot recall making a roux/slurry thickened sauce in the past decade in a professional kitchen. One of my most forgetable restaurant sauce making experiences was the reduced cream sauces.

(veal stock) Reductions, puree/puree-thickened, and salsa/relish type sauces (do/should) rule the day, IMO, in restaurants today.
How come "dishwasher" is not listed as a choice for culinary experience?

"...the very genesis of our art."
- Escoffier on grilling
How come "dishwasher" is not listed as a choice for culinary experience?

"...the very genesis of our art."
- Escoffier on grilling
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just to get this straight...

You're off all five of Escoffier's mother sauces.

You don't do roux for the tomate, you use a puree variation with or without a pincage, and (just guessing here) don't use stock in it either.

You don't do egg/fat emulsions like bernaise or aioli. (?!) Or, just don't consider hollandaise and mayonnaise as mothers?

You don't do butter/acid emulsions like buerre blanc. (?!) Or, consider butter incorporation more of a technique than a mother?

Your demi-glace is of the semi-demi-glace variety ala Pepin, et al. In other words, start with veal stock, fortify it a bit, and reduce away.

Does anything scream haute cuisine like "more butter?"
post #5 of 14
As an owner/chef, a major consideration for me is cost. What I can charge for a menu determines how the sauces are made. I do make espagnole but only as a route to demi-glace. Mostly I use the stock reduction method which I find very satisfactory for 80-90% of the time. I always have demi in the freezer and I guard it fiercely, NOBODY is allowed to touch it. It is a long winded process to make it but undoubtedly a better way to a more structured sauce. I never use cubes or bouillons although I have to admit to having used them in the past.

Is mac and cheese macaroni? if so, then I would say yes, it is a mornay derived from bechamel. I never make allemande.

Somebody once took out the demi-glace and said "why have you got this fudge in the freezer?"
post #6 of 14
Espagnole? Brown gravy? :D :D
post #7 of 14
I do not make/teach Allemande as a mother sauce,but as a volute small sauce with a liaison and lemon.

Espagnol and veal stock are reduced in equal parts to produce demi glace

Reduced/fortified stock is not demi glace, perhaps glace de viande would be more appropriate. My personal favorite reduction is making a fond de veau jus lie (very intense)

I don't make as much demi these days as i find it cloudy,and pure reductions offer a cleaner/clearer plate presentation without scarifying flavor.

Time moves on as you noted with Pelliprat and Waters/Towers. Careme had his meres,but I believe in what we think of as classic mother sauces and what is taught, Escoffiers is the norm. Great thread BDL

Kuan, with all do respect, Demi glace is not brown gravey (well maybe technically) :cool: but you know what I mean
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #8 of 14
have to agree with everything posted.
post #9 of 14
I think the man will be turning in his grave at this thread. If you want to use classical culiniary terms then you must respect what they mean. you cannot make demi-glace unless you reduce sauce Espangnol by half, demi means half. you can call it anything else and often I would agree it tastes better but if you call it demi-glace thats what it is. In nouvelle cuisine jus lie is a term often used this means thickend juices a good substitute for demi-glace if made well.
I shall be back on this one but must dash to cook dinner.
steve www.masterchefinfrance.com
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

I don't believe anyone called anything by a wrong name, at least not so far. The reference I made to a reduced stock used like a demi-glace was to Julia Child's "semi-demi-glace." Her term, not mine. If you want to take it up with her, lots of luck.

So far, everyone else seems to have used the terms of art correctly -- although I certainly know a few chefs who equate reduced stock with demi-glace. I've poured slightly reduced stock over a roux/pincage/mirepoix to make a quick and dirty semi-espagnole en route to what I call barbecue bordelaise, for barbecued brisket. Since bordelaise is modified by barbecue, I have no more qualms about the inauthenticity of my espagnole, than the inclusion of chipotle and molasses.

post #11 of 14
Now this gets kind of interesting. My pet theory on Espagnole is that it is more time consuming and has more ingredients that a straight reduction.


Supposing I had a batch of veal stock, moistened from a remy of a previous stock. Lets say it was the consitancy of a good espresso--not enough to coat a spoon, and I could even see through it I put it in a glass and held it to the light, but suppose it had a decent enough flavour and enough body to it. In other words, a basic set of Lego blocks. I was taught to make an Espagnole by sweating a new mirepoix in bacon/bacon fat, then sweating tomato paste with it, dusting it with flour, then adding the veal stock, and reducing. Granted, every kitchen would do this differently. But does this method sound like something you would call an Espagnole?

On the other hand If I had the 80 qt stock pot with filled with veal stock, I would drain it into a smaller pot, set it on the stove and walk away--theoritically. No chopping of mirepoix, no sweating, no dusting or the like, and in the morning I would strain it into icecream buckets and stash it away.

Now my question to everyone else is, after you strained the pot from the veal stock, what do you do with the bones? If you make a remy, what do you do with the remouillage afterwards?

Allemende? Is that the one with egg yolks and cream? I'd be scared ****less to keep that one in the steam table.....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #12 of 14
I use my remy as the liquid for my next batch of veal stock. I don't make espagnole too much any more. I have gone to mostly glace de veau for most of my sauces. I too like the clear nature of it.

I have used demi glace gold, but mostly for large banquets of 5,000 or more where scratch demi would just be too time consuming.

The fundamentals of mother sauces still frame most of the sauces I make now, but more and more I am using hybrid sauces. Beurre blancs from veloute bases and such. More for stability than anything else. Sometimes this is necessary when you don't have the labor available to do a la minute sauces. Most of my glace de veau is used to fortify reductions for Francese, Marsala, Anitra Selvatica and the like.
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
post #13 of 14
I'm still really bad at calling glace de viande "demi-glace" but am trying hard to break the habit. In one restaurant I worked, we simply called everything "jus", but for some reason that always seemed wierd to me. I think because whenever I would refer to "jus" to non-culinary folks, they often assumed it was simply pan drippings from a roast.

I've made a "chicken" espangole, once before for a brown chicken glace, (We did this in culinary school - the program called it "chicken demi-glace) but never mixed a brown roux with veal stock, and I wonder if I ever will.
post #14 of 14
When I was in school they tentatively added butter to the mother sauce list with compound butters being considered small sauces. They were also steering us away from the use of sauces (this was the mid 70s) justifying this move by saying the classic sauces were developed in Europe for the purpose of disguising rank flavors resulting from the lack of refrigeration at that time. They maintained that since we had fresh meat, sauces were no longer needed. I had a local chef more or less taunting me one night at the local watering hole over what he considered my lack of knowlege compared to his. As proof of my ignorance, he asked me to define buerre rouge. Of course I had no idea (red butter-what could make it red?) so he hooted and said if I didn't know that, I didn't know anythng. I asked my brother in law (Cordon Bleu grad) if he knew, he didn't so I guess he's stupid too. I ended up looking it up in La
Rousse's and found it was either shrimp or crawfish shells that were rubbed through a fine seive and blended with butter to be served with seafood. Seems there's a faction of the nouvelle crowd who thinks buerre rouge is buerre blanc made red wine instead of white and they serve it with beef. So it seems there is a lot of confusion out there regarding sauces.
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