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What is Bearnaise Sauce?

For some reason, one of the most confusing aspects of French cuisine is all the different sauces that are used. If it's not a Hollandaise sauce, then it is a Bearnaise sauce, or even some other kind of sauce. But what is Bearanaise sauce? Simply put, Bearnaise sauce is a type of cooked sauce that is made from some simple ingredients. Typically those ingredients will include butter, vinegar, wine, egg yolks, a little tarragon, and some shallots.

Bearnaise sauce does allow a lot of flexibility in the ingredients used, though you do need to be careful as you prepare it. Often the biggest mistake that anyone can make when making Bearnaise sauce is that they do not pay enough attention while cooking it, and allow the sauce to overheat. Here is a rather simple recipe that is not only easy to follow, but provides a great tasting sauce that you will love.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup hot melted butter

Recipe:

  1. Combine and boil ingredients. Combine the vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon, salt, and pepper in small saucepan. Boil the ingredients over a medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced to about two tablespoons. Strain the resulting vinegar reduction into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil some water. Using a large saucepan set on high heat, bring several inches of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a slow simmer. Whisk the egg yolks into the vinegar reduction, and then place the bowl over the simmering water. Continue to whisk the mixture until the yolks have thickened and turned a pale lemon yellow color. This mixture will form ribbons when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Once the yolks have reached this point, remove the bowl from the simmering water.
  3. Add butter. Slowly pour the hot melted butter into the egg yolk mixture. As you do this, make sure that you continue to whisk. Do not stop whisking the mixture until all of the butter has fully incorporated, or you will find your sauce separating. Once you have finished, the sauce will have a thick, creamy texture. Serve the sauce immediately.
 

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