Espagnole Tater Tot Poutine has delicious Espagnole sauce poured over crispy tater tots and delicious cheddar cheese curds. Espagnole takes a little bit of effort, but it’s well worth it!
So, I made this sauce. I wanted to make one of the mother sauces I had not made before. I have made 3 of the 5. The other two I haven’t really heard of before. I mean, I knew of the mother sauces, but I didn’t know what they all were. So, I had a brief lesson in them and decided to make Espagnole sauce.
What are the French 5 mother sauces?
Most are probably familiar with the same three that I am: Béchamel, Hollandaise, and Tomato. Though I’m not sure most would think of adding a roux to tomatoes for tomato sauce. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The other two are Velouté and Espagnole.
In the mid a1800’s some famous French chef stated that there were 4 grand sauces, or mother sauces, that all other sauces (daughter sauces) were derived from. Hollandaise was not part of the original list. Strangely enough, he put mayonnaise sauce in a separate cold sauce category, but in my head it’s sort of like Hollandaise.
There are some that list out 7 sauces. They include mayo separate from Hollandaise. And they list demi-glace separately. I don’t know that I buy into adding these as “mother” sauces. Because both are part of other sauces so they should be considered daughter sauces. At least that’s the way I see it. I’m sure others would argue.
Three of the five mother sauces begin with a roux. Tomato sauce could start with a roux, but I think most Italians simply simmer tomatoes down to make the sauce. Hollandaise is in a class of it’s own where it uses eggs to thicken the sauce and not flour. But it does use butter, of course. The French love cooking with butter.
What is a roux?
A roux is simply a combination of butter and flour. You cook both together in a saucepan. Depending on the sauce you want to make you might cook it a little or a lot. A velouté shouldn’t cook for very long. It’s supposed to be a light-colored sauce, so cooking your roux until it’s brown isn’t ideal.
The Espagnole sauce, on the other hand, benefits from the darker roux. It adds richness and flavor to the beef stock. This darker roux is also the base of almost every Cajun soup or stew recipe. The darker the better for their dishes. Try my Chicken and Sausage Gumbo or my Shrimp Étouffée.
Almost every macaroni and cheese recipe starts with a roux. Mine start with a version of it. I don’t cook the butter and flour together first. I usually combine the butter, flour and milk together and simmer that down. But my Beer and Brats Mac and Cheese starts with a roux. And is one of my fave mac and cheese recipes on my blog.
What is Espagnole sauce?
Espagnole sauce is probably the most complicated of the mother sauces to make. First, you have to cook the roux until dark. As dark as you can get it without burning it. For me, that’s somewhere between milk chocolate and dark chocolate in color. Once you’re at that color, be ready to add the veggies!
The veggies are mirepoix. This is a ratio of 2 parts onion to one parts each carrot and celery. This is not the same as the Holy Trinity in Cajun food. That’s even parts of the celery, onion, and green bell pepper. The garlic went in a little after the veggies did because I didn’t want it to get too browned.
I kept stirring and cooking the vegetables until the onion started to almost caramelize. It started to brown around the edges and be very aromatic in the pan. That’s when I added tomato paste, the beef stock, and the aromatics. And then it simmers. I let mine simmer at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I didn’t keep track. It simmered until thickened, and it coated the back of a spoon.
What does Espagnole Tater Tot Poutine taste like?
The day I made Espagnole Tater Tot Poutine I served it over mashed potatoes with a French onion pot roast. That’s still a work in progress. I will share that recipe once it’s perfected. But I’m here to tell ya, it’s so good! The Espagnole sauce is delicious as a gravy.
Served over the mashed potatoes I didn’t get the “bitter” flavor that some talk about with this sauce. It simmers with caramelized veggies for at least an hour. That along with the tomato paste and other items makes it a little bitter. Not like arugula or coffee grounds bitter. But back of the throat, there’s a hint of bitter kind of bitter.
I didn’t taste the bitterness in this Espagnole Tater Tot Poutine until I poured it over the tots and curds. Strange. I know. But the sauce also had simmered a little while longer when I heated it up for the tots. Not so much that it was even thicker, but enough to heat up.
But please don’t let that prevent you from making this Espagnole Tater Tot Poutine! It’s the base of so many delicious sauces. And it’s delicious on its own. Just add a little sugar if it’s too bitter for you. A simple fix so you can enjoy this delicious sauce.
What can you make with Espagnole sauce?
Demi-glace. Of course, that’s the base of many sauces, too. Demi-glace is half Espagnole and more beef stock reduced again. Bourguignonne sauce also uses Espagnole sauce. Simply add some rich red wine to the sauce and simmer. You can make a delicious mushroom sauce or Chasseur sauce or hunter’s sauce. It’s a rich sauce made with vegetables and mushrooms. Sometimes it has tomatoes in there, too.
Espagnole Tater Tot Poutine has delicious Espagnole sauce poured over crispy tater tots and delicious cheddar cheese curds. Espagnole takes a little bit of effort, but it's well worth it!
For the Espagnole sauce:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 cups reduced sodium or no sodium beef stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
For the tater tot poutine:
- 4 cups crispy tater tots
- 2 cups cheese curds
For the Espagnole sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.
- Sauté the carrot, onion, and celery in the melted butter until the onion is translucent.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and continue to cook until the roux is nutty and brown being careful not to burn it.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the beef stock and remaining ingredients.
- Simmer 30 to 40 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer
For the poutine:
- Place the crispy tater tots on each of 4 plates.
- Divide the cheese curds evenly between the 4 plates.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of Espagnole sauce over the cheese curds and tater tots.
- Store remaining Espagnole sauce in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving Calories 814Total Fat 56gSaturated Fat 28gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 122mgSodium 1668mgCarbohydrates 58gFiber 4gSugar 5gProtein 24g
There will be extra sauce to account for the extra calories.
Sauce it up!
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