Steak sauce comes in two generic types - marinades, in which the steak rests for a period of time and the flavors infuse into the meat, and toppings, which are added either in the final stages of cooking or at serving time.
I have identified five main different types of steak sauce:
- The various commercial bottled steak sauce brands.
- Sauces made from egg yolks, vinegar and flavorings, such as Béarnaise.
- Sauces made from wine or brown stock, such as Madeira Sauce, and possibly with the addition of vegetables, such as Mushroom Sauce.
- Sauces made from cream, such as Pepper Sauce.
- Sauces made from cheese, such as Sauce au Roquefort.
I love all of these sauces, but if I had to choose one type of steak sauce that was always welcome, it would be the classic French Sauce à la Bordelaise, meaning from Bordeaux in France, where they have such wonderful red wine. I'll be making my own video of this steak sauce very soon, but in the meantime here are two that I think show good techniques and method.
On thing to know is that the classic French Sauce à la Bordelaise is basically a reduction of wine thickened with a demi-glace of veal stock and butter. It should not be thickened with flour.For most of us outside France, the bone marrow is the hardest thing to come by, but it does add a very distinctive taste and you should try to use it if you possibly can. Some butchers may be able to sell you bone marrow, but if you really can't get it, just leave it out as Chef John demonstrates here:
And if you want the classic recipe with the bone marrow and all the trimmings, this one from Billy Parisi is pretty close to the real thing:
Here is the classic French recipe for Sauce à la Bordelaise that will make 4-6 servings of steak sauce:
Ingredients for Steak Sauce à la Bordelaise
- 3 tbsp chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 2 cups decent red wine
- 2 cups veal stock
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsp chopped beef bone marrow, blanched in boiling water
- Saute the shallots in a little of the butter until soft.
- Pour the wine into the pan and simmer until it is reduced by half.
- In another pan, simmer the veal stock until it is reduced to one-quarter of its volume.
- When both liquids are very concentrated, combine them and continue to cook until they are reduced to a couple of tablespoons per steak.
- Add salt and pepper, stir and taste until you are happy with the seasoning.
- Whisk in the remaining butter a little at a time. This enriches the sauce and gives it "eyes" - ie, makes it shine.
- Add bone marrow if using, stir until heated.
- Pour over the steaks and serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
This is a very refined steak sauce from the classic French repertoire, but it is not hard to make at home. I hope you like it!
For more steak sauce video recipes, please visit: Steak Sauce Recipes Video Blog.