Citizens, we march today through the United Kingdom, to discuss perhaps the seminal British sauce in our week of world sauces! 🙂
Brown sauce is a traditional condiment served with food in the United Kingdom and Ireland, normally dark brown in colour. The ingredients include a varying combination of tomatoes, molasses, dates, apples, tamarind, spices, vinegar, and sometimes raisins or anchovies.
The taste is either tart or sweet with a peppery taste similar to that of Worcestershire sauce. It is similar to brown sauce marketed as steak sauce in the United States.
Brown sauce is traditionally eaten with meals and dishes such as full breakfasts, bacon sandwiches, chips, and baked beans.
A combination of spirit vinegar (or water) and brown sauce known simply as “sauce” or “chippy sauce” is popular on fish and chips in Edinburgh, Scotland.
A recipe for “sauce for steaks” composed of ale, wine, ketchup, black pepper and butter appeared in an 1862 cookbook published in London entitled The Practical Family Cookery Book.
HP Sauce, a spicy and tangy variety, is the most popular brown sauce in the United Kingdom, accounting for around 75% of sales. In some regions of the UK, Daddies is also a very popular sauce, especially in the Midlands and Wales. Other brands include OK Sauce and Wilkin & Sons.
Chef and YR Sauce are popular brown sauce brands in Ireland. While YR stands for Yorkshire Relish, the sauce has been produced in Ireland since 1933 and is currently manufactured in County Donegal by Robert Roberts.
Most supermarket chains in the UK and Ireland also stock their own brand of brown sauce. As with other condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, brown sauce is widely available in catering sachets and dispenser bottles in restaurants.
Between 2013 and 2014 the sales of brown sauces in the UK decreased by approximately 19%, according to market research company Mintel, though more than 13 million kg are still consumed each year. There is also a German brand Zooze from Cologne that introduced a fancy version for the premium market called “The Gentleman’s Club Sauce” and which appears to be an homage to the traditional British brown sauce.
Citizens, I give you my take on the archetypal British brown sauce condiment, an essential accompaniment to eggs, mushrooms and breakfast fry-ups. I include a touch of the famous British condiment called Gentleman’s Relish, which is a blend of butter, anchovy and spices in my version. Buy it here on Amazon. I also like the flavor of pureed Branston Pickle, another British staple, in this recipe. Buy it on Amazon here for an optional but flavorful addition!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon British Brown Sauce
- 720ml malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 200ml water
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp Muscovado sugar
- 5 scant tsp. flour
- 3 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
- 20g dates, chopped
- 40g Branston Pickle (TFD addition), pureed or use chopped dates
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 1/2 tsp freshly-grated ginger
- 4 whole cloves
- 6 allspice berries
- 4 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch of turmeric
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 5 Juniper berries
- a little oil for frying
- 1 tsp. Gentleman’s Relish (preferred) or anchovy paste (TFD addition) – optional
- Begin by preparing the tomatoes. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a cross in the base of each tomato. Blanch carefully in boiling water, immediately plunging into ice water to cool (this process should loosen the skins of the tomatoes). Peel and deseed the tomatoes, then chop the flesh into chunks and set to one side.
- Toast whole spices in a dry skillet until fragrant, then lightly crack them. Put into a cheesecloth with bay leaves and tie into a bag.
- Add the oil and Gentleman’s Relish (or anchovy paste) to a pan and use to fry the shallots until softened (about 6 minutes) then add the tomatoes and dates and cook for 4 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to release their juice. Add the water, tamarind pulp and spice bag and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside until cold.
- Pass the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Return this liquid to a pan and whisk-in all the remaining ingredients (except the vinegar, sugar and treacle). Bring to a boil over medium heat then stir-in the vinegar, treacle and sugar. Return to a boil and continue boiling, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring all the while.
- Take off the heat and allow to cool a little, remove bag of spices. Then use an immersion blender and blitz until smooth, adjusting the seasoning to taste. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean jar and set aside to cool. Then pour into a bottle that’s been sterilized and heated in an oven pre-heated to 120°C for 10 minutes. Securely seal the bottle then set aside to cool. Allow to mature in a cool cupboard for at least 3 weeks before using. Store in the refrigerator once opened.
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