Recipe for Bordelaise – the ultimate red wine sauce for steak

3 tbs salted butter
¾ cup finely chopped shallots (substitute with onion if unavailable)
2 rashers bacon, finely diced (leave out if you avoid pork)
3 tbs flour
1½ cups Bordeaux-style red wine (see tips, tricks and trivia below)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 large clove garlic, unpeeled and bashed open roughly
8 portobello mushrooms, finely sliced (substitute with white button if unavailable)
3 x 25g sachets beef demi-glacé concentrate (Woolworths stocks it, substitute with good quality liquid stock like Nomu’s beef fond if necessary)
1½ cups water
2 fresh bay leaves, leaves lightly bruised to help release its oil
4 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs flatleaf parsley
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp salt

How to
Fry the shallots in salted butter over low heat until soft. Add the bacon and fry for a further minute. Add the flour and stir through until it disappears. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Next add the carrot, garlic clove, mushrooms, demi-glacé and water.

Use string to tie the bay leaf, thyme and parsley in a bouquet garni bundle and place in the pot. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down to its lowest setting and cook gently for an hour. Check from time to time and give it a stir. If it gets too thick, your heat is too high. In this case simply add a few tablespoons of water to loosen the Bordelaise and turn your heat lower.

Remove the bouquet garni. Add the black pepper. Taste and add salt. (Note: The salt quantity provided in this recipe is adjusted for the Woolworths demi-glacé I used. If you use a different beef concentrate, you will have to adjust salt accordingly.)

For a very elegant sauce, pour the Bordelaise through a sieve to remove all the solid bits. For a more rustic sauce, leave the veggies in. This Bordelaise sauce can be made well in advance and simply reheated, so it’s perfect for entertaining.

It’s a dream with any beef or venison steak. It also elevates good old English beef Wellington to new heights. The man who thrashed Napoleon may turn in his grave – but really, nothing beats a good French sauce!

Recipe by Lizet Hartley, courtesy of Melkkos & Merlot, a bilingual blog about food.

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