Soubise Sauce

We still have ham left from Hogmanay so was looking for a recipe to make to go with that. This sauce is good with meat apparently. The recipe requires a bechamel sauce first so there is a recipe for that earlier in the chapter that I made first..

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients

Half pint milk
1 shallot or small piece of onion
Small piece of carrot chopped up
Half a stick of celery
Half a bay leaf
3 peppercorns
1 oz butter
1 oz flour

Put the milk, veg and flavourings in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain and then use this liquid to make a roux sauce with the butter and flour. Season before serving.

This is a pretty basic bechamel recipe and is used as a base for a lot of sauces. Next I made the soubise sauce..


Half lb onions chopped
1 oz butter
Half pint bechamel sauce

Cook the opinions gently in the butter and a little stock or water until soft – 10-15 minutes. Sieve and stir the purée into the sauce, with seasoning to taste. Heat for 1–2 minutes.

There is no actual volume of liquid specified, just says a little, so is that a little cup or a few ml or what? I think I added half a cup, but by the time the 15 minutes was up this had reduced.

So I think there is a bit of a crucial detail missing in the recipe. I sieved the onions but there was hardly any liquid, so I just threw the whole lot of onions into the sauce! The recipe talks about a purée but I couldn’t see what it meant. So I searched for another version of this recipe on internet and they all say that the onions themselves are meant to be puréed!! Wish I had looked this up first.

So my sauce is lumpy, not the smooth creamy sauce it’s meant to be. Although I don’t feel that’s entirely my fault as nowhere in the recipe does it say to purée the onions.

Anyway it is rather tasty. As I said we had this with ham and it was nice; the salty ham was good with the strong onion flavour. I do think that it would go better with fish, so when I make this properly next time I will serve with fish.

Would I make this again? Yes, need to get it right!


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