- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 to 4 fresh parsley stems
- 7 to 8 whole black peppercorns
- 1 ounce clarified butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup diced carrot
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1 ounce all-purpose flour
- 3 cups brown stock (i.e. beef stock)
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
Fold the bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems, and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and tie the corners with a piece of kitchen twine. Leave one string long enough so that you can tie it to the handle of your pot to make it easier to retrieve.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Add the mirepoix—onions, carrots, and celery—and sauté for a few minutes until lightly browned. Don’t let it burn. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the mirepoix a little bit at a time until it is fully incorporated and forms a thick paste (this is your roux). Lower the heat and cook the roux for another 5 minutes or so, until it just starts to take on a very light brown color. Again, don’t let it burn. Using a wire whisk, slowly add the stock and tomato purée to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add the sachet. Simmer for about 50 minutes, or until the total volume has reduced by about 1/3, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the sauce from the heat and retrieve the sachet. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.