Sauces are culinary preparations that are used to flavor and enhance the flavor of the accompanying foods, providing tremendous added value. They have the ability to transform a “comsí comsá” recipe into a great platter and it is convenient to give them the importance they deserve.

The mother sauces or large sauces they represent the essence of classic cuisine. World famous recipes are built on its basis, linked to the names of chefs from different eras. The first classification was made by the French chef Marie Antoine Carême in the 18th century, who established four great sauces: the Spanish, the velouté, the béchamel and the German.

Two centuries later Auguste Escoffier established a new system for organizing sauces, removing the German one and adding two more: tomato sauce and Dutch sauce. To this classification, modern kitchen baseIt is followed by a more modern one that distinguishes the sauces between large (Spanish, béchamel, velouté and tomato) and small (mayonnaise, hollandaise, bearnaise and vinaigrette).

Dark sauces made with background

Regardless of the various classifications, the universe of sauces is intriguing and tremendously broad. We could write at length about it, but today we are going to focus on the dark sauces that are made from a background, also dark, and in the recipes in which to use them.

A dark sauce, like any other, has its own characteristics. The ingredients used, the manufacturing process and the use that is going to be given, determine its composition, color, taste, smell and consistency. Starting from a good background and quality products are key if we want to get a good sauce.

We could say that Spanish sauce is the mother of all dark sauces. With an intense, bright and velvety color, it is made from a dark background of meat that, once ready, is concentrated by boiling until the desired texture is achieved. It can be thickened with a roux if thicker is desired.

Spanish sauce and demi-glacé sauce

We place the veal, the bones and the vegetables – washed, peeled and roughly chopped – on a baking tray. We drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and roast in the oven, preheated to 210 ºC with heat up and down, for 20-30 minutes or until everything is toasted.

We transfer the whole to a large saucepan, place it over medium heat and water with the wine. Boil, stirring occasionally, until no trace of the latter and all the alcohol has evaporated.

Next we add the water, the bay leaf, the thyme branch and two or three grains of black pepper. We cook to simmer for three or four hours, removing the foam that forms on the surface.

We remove and discard the meat and bones. We pass the rest through a food processor and strain it through a Chinese one. We return to the fire and cook over low heat until it reduces a third of its volume, that is, we have to obtain 2/3 of the initial amount.

Depending on the point of thickness that we want to give our Spanish sauce, we can thicken with a roux made with butter and flour (as if we were making a bechamel sauce). But if we have reduced it properly it may not be necessary. To taste.

Istock 177554816


Spanish sauce is often confused with demi-glacé, but this is not the case. These two sauces differ in the degree of concentration or evaporation. In fact, Spanish sauce is one of the ingredients in the making of demi-glacé.

  • Ingredients: 500 ml of Spanish sauce, 750 ml of dark background and 45 ml of Madeira wine.

  • Elaboration: We mix the Spanish sauce and the dark background in a large pot. Cook over low heat until it has reduced a third of its volume, that is, we have to 2/3. We remove from the heat and add the wine.

Read:  recipe for a different meal in less than 10 minutes

Spanish sauce and demi-glacé sauce can be used on their own, although it is not the most common. They are generally used as base ingredients to make what are considered “derived sauces”.

Other sauces made with bottom: derived sauces

Bigarade sauce

  • Ingredients: 250 ml of Spanish sauce, 15 ml of vinegar, 40 g of sugar, 15 ml of julienne orange peel, 5 ml of orange juice and 3 ml of lemon juice.

  • Elaboration: Scald the orange peel in julienne strips in a saucepan with boiling water, remove and cool. In a saucepan we heat the sugar until caramelized, add the vinegar and stir to integrate. Add the Spanish sauce, the orange and lemon juice and the blanched orange peel. We give a boil and that’s it.


Bordeaux sauce

  • Ingredients: 100 g of shallot, 100 ml of dry red Bordeaux wine, 500 ml of demi-glacé, 20 g of fine corn flour, olive oil and salt.

  • Elaboration: Chop the shallot and poach it in a saucepan with a little oil. Add the wine and let it reduce before adding the demi-glacé. Cook over low heat for a few minutes. We dilute the cornmeal in a little sauce, add it and stir to incorporate. When it thickens, season to taste and that’s it.

Porto or Madeira sauce (financial)

  • Ingredients: 15 g of minced onion, 25 g of minced ham, 200 ml of demi-glacé sauce, 150 m of Port or Madeira wine and 15 g of butter.

  • Elaboration: poach the onion in a little butter, add the ham and sauté. Add the Port or Madeira wine and let it reduce by half. Add the demi-glacé, cook for five minutes and that’s it.

Complete recipe for Porto sauce.

Perigueux sauce

  • Ingredients: 300 ml of Spanish sauce, 50 ml of canned truffle juice, 20 g of chopped black truffle, 40 g of butter, salt and freshly ground pepper.

  • Elaboration: Put the Spanish sauce and the truffle juice in a saucepan, add the chopped black truffle and cook for about 15 minutes. Outside of the fire we add the butter and season to taste and that’s it.

If we add foie to the perigueux sauce, we get the perigourdine sauce.

Robert sauce

Robert sauce

  • Ingredients: 100 g of shallot, 50 g of butter, old-fashioned mustard to taste, 500 ml of dark background, 20 g of wheat flour and 50 ml of white wine.

  • Elaboration: Finely chop the shallot and sauté it in the butter until it is practically caramelized. We add the flour and stir to obtain a roux. Add the white wine and stir until the alcohol evaporates and the liquid is integrated. We incorporate the dark background until the sauce is blended. We add the mustard, quantity to taste. Mix and stir until the sauce takes the sufficient density and color.

Robert sauce complete recipe.

Hunter sauce

  • Ingredients: 1 small onion, 100 g of mushrooms, 200 ml of dark background, 50 g of butter and 50 g of wheat flour.

  • Elaboration: Finely chop the onion and slice the mushrooms. Sauté the onion and add the mushrooms, letting them cook well in a couple of globs of butter. Add the flour and stir well. Once everything is golden, we are adding the dark background little by little while we stir. When we have reached the desired thickness point we adjust the salt and that’s it.

Complete hunter sauce recipe.

In which recipes to use dark sauces

hunter sauce

These sauces are ideal to accompany all kinds of meats: red, birds, game, etc and all kinds of cuts. They are also very good to bind stuffed or minced meat, for roasts, braised and stews. Here are a series of suggestions, although in our meat section you have many more.

Directly to the palate | Béarnaise sauce recipe, how to make it and with what dishes you can use this classic sauce of French cuisine
Directly to the palate | How to prepare homemade chimichurri sauce, recipe for your roasts and barbecues