I use portions of this Marchand de Vin sauce to enrich beef stews, other sauces, and in the version of Eggs Benedict called Eggs Hussarde. (Spread the English muffin with it, then top as usual with ham, an egg and Hollandaise. A dollop of this makes a plain meal into something really special.
I love classic New Orleans food! Sometimes, though, the chefs are absolutely reckless with the butter, so I adapted this for our healthier diet. There’s nothing wrong with a little butter; it does add body and richness. I’ll give the recipe in two sizes.
One note on cooking with wine: Use a wine you’ll happily drink! Not to say a $40 bottle, but at least use a good table wine. Please, do not ever buy “cooking wine” at the grocery! It’s loaded with salt to make it unpalatable and it could ruin your recipe.
Ingredients for 5 cups of sauce
• 1 stick butter
• 1/2 cup best olive oil
• 2 cups onion, roughly chopped
• 2 pounds mushrooms, white or crimini or mix
• 4 cloves roasted garlic
• 2 tsp Herbes de Provence (or just thyme)
• 1 cup ham, diced
• 3 cups strong beef stock or bouillon
• 1/2 bottle good red wine, merlot or a cabernet
• 1/8 tsp Espelette pepper or cayenne
Ingredients for 12 ounces of sauce
• 4 Tbs butter
• 2 Tbsp best olive oil
• 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
• 8 ounces mushrooms, white or crimini or mix
• 1 clove roasted garlic
• 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence (or just thyme)
• 1/4 cup ham, diced
• 3/4 cup strong beef stock or bouillon
• 1 cup good red wine, merlot or a cabernet
• Dash Espelette pepper or cayenne
1. Melt half of the butter in the oil. Add in the onions and begin to gently sauté as you roughly chop the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms in, cover the pot and continue to cook gently until the mushrooms give up their liquid. You don’t want to color the vegetables.
2. Mash the roasted garlic and add that in, stir to mix in.
3. Add the herbs, the ham, and then the beef stock and the wine, stirring well after each. Continue to simmer gently as the liquid redeces. Watch and stir from time to time until the mixture is nearly dry. (Watch especially carefully at the end.)
4. Now sprinkle on the Espelette or cayenne pepper. Then, add in the second half of the butter, stirring and swirling. Don’t let the butter just sit and melt — that makes it oily.
5. Turn off the burner and let the mixture cool a bit.
6. Next, turn your Marchand de Vin into the food processor and pulse briefly. You want it to be a rough, thick sauce, not completely pureed; leave some texture.
I put my sauce into 8-ounce freezer tubs and store for up to a full year.
Photo by Wendy Akin
Wendy Akin is a happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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