Classic French Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

Tenderloin, savory sauce and fork on plate, close-up
Bordelaise and Tenderloin. John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Ratings (27)

Bordelaise sauce is a classic French sauce using red wine. The sauce is named after the famous wine growing region of Bordeaux in South West France. Traditionally, the sauce would be made using a Bordeaux wine, but that is not necessary especially given that many good wines from the region are expensive being amongst some of the best wines in the world. 

Rich and flavorful, it takes just a small drizzle of bordelaise sauce recipe to perk up a simple, grilled steak or slow-roasted beef. The tangy, savory red wine sauce is also a great accompaniment to roasted potatoes. It can be made right before serving time, or up to a day in advance, using a special insiders' trick to keep a skin from forming over the surface of the bordelaise. Readmore about this trick below. 

What You'll Need

  • 3/4 cup dry, red wine
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cold butter

How to Make It

How to make homemade bordelaise sauce:

Place the red wine, shallots, thyme, and bay leaf into a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and continue to cook to reduce the contents to half its original volume.

Add the beef stock to the pan and bring the mixture up to a boil, again. Skim and discard any foam that appears on top of the sauce using a tablespoon.

Continue cooking the bordelaise until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a  spoon (to check simply dip the tablespoon into the sauce and twirl it around, lift the spoon and flip it over to look at the back, the sauce should have coated the spoon, it f it quickly runs off the spoon it is not yet thick enough).

Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Use the sauce immediately or , if you are holding the sauce for later, lightly rub the cold butter across the hot surface of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming or lay a piece of greaseproof paper cut to the size of the pan, onto the surface of the sauce. 

This bordelaise sauce recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Using Wine in Your Cooking:

This quality of this Bordelaise sauce will be dependent on the wine you use. The rule of thumb on using wine in your cooking is to never cook with wine you would not drink. Saving old, leftover wine for cooking, or even worse, buying "cooking" wine is a false economy.  If it is not fit to pour into a glass and drink because the taste would not be good, then why will that make your sauce taste good? It is the same wine.