Shallot & red wine sauce

Shallot & red wine sauce

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(56 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 4
This classic French sauce from Gordon Ramsay is just perfect with a rib-eye steak

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 250g shallot, sliced



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
  • sprig rosemary



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    Balsamic vinegar

    Balsamic vinegar

    bal-sam-ick vin-ee-gah

    True Balsamic vinegar is an artisan product from Modena, in Emilia Romagna, Italy, and is made…

  • 400ml red wine
  • 400ml beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • knob of butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…


  1. Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with the oil over a high heat for about 3 mins until lightly browned, stirring often. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 3 mins, stirring often to prevent the shallots burning.

  2. Pour in the vinegar and cook until evaporated away to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds.

  3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, to around 250ml. Remove the garlic and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste and finally 'monte' (whisk) in a knob of butter. Add any juices from the steaks just before serving.

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Comments (68)

Danthephotographer's picture

What an absolute waste of time and ingredients. This has taken well over double the specified time to reduce. I made this in the hope I could get it done, eat dinner and then go out. An hour later and I'm not even close. I'm sure it would taste delicious but disappointed in how inaccurate the cook time is.

Joesyjo's picture

I changed the wine and stock to 300ml instead of 400ml after reading other comments. This worked perfectly. Everyone loved it.

Barn-Owl-By's picture

This made a pretty good sauce, but I think you should use slightly less red wine (next time I'll try it with 300ml instead of 400ml) and it definitely takes a lot longer than this says!

lullabelle80's picture

I use this recipe with some brisket in the slow cooker and it makes the most yummy rich gravy to go with roasties or buttery mash, yorkshires and the meltingly tender beef. I make on the hob as per the recipe up to adding the red wine to the pan, at this point I take off the heat and then stir in a beef stock pot, with no water- a stock cube would probably do just as well. Then I simply transfer everything to the slow cooker, add my beef and cook on low for 8 hours. Once done I remove the beef and strain the liquid in to a pot and bubble until a nice consistency. So easy and family can't get enough.

bezza110's picture

Made this for go with herb crusted rack of lamb and it was perfect. I did strain it before adding stock to remove shallots but only because I wanted a smooth jus. Really good will definitely make it again.

Killovicz's picture

It took me more then 2 full hours and a whole lotta faff but it was worth it. The best red wine sauce I've ever tasted. I've licked my plate clean, every inch of it.

I've used:regular onions since I had no shallots, aceto balsamico di modena IGP, chateau de Gorrichon Bordeaux superieur (4.5 quid, 75 cl) and homemade beef stock. After adding the wine and cooking it for about 10 min I've removed the rosemary and garlic, blended the sauce then shagged the rosemary and garlic back in again, then I've followed the rest of the recipe. I added at least a half tee spoon sugar (if not 1.5) and a good chunk of butter (more then 70 grams). Good luck all.

Thanks mate :)

Sally Bramald's picture

Quite good, I looked it up for the proportions. I replaced the initial olive oil with butter (grape seed oil would do) as I never cook on a high heat with olive oil to avoid that bitter taste. I sweated the sliced shallots first and then browned them until there was a brown gue on the bottom of the pan. I reduced the heat again to sweat the garlic rather than make that bitter too. I added the balsamic whilst the temp was low and used it to dissolve the gue before turning it up to caramelise it all. I reduced the red wine down to almost nothing. And I confess to using Oxo for my beef stock as I have no way of making my own. (and I don't like the prepped stuff in the supermarkets). I used fresh rosemary and found it fiddly to remove as it fell apart. All in all, it is OK but I think I might do better just muddling along without a recipe. (and I only wanted to make this as we had no blue cheese, or mushrooms to make my normal sauces for fillet steak)

Mellie66's picture

Loved this recipe but found that it took nearer 50 minutes to reduce and even then I had to add a tiny amount of cornflour to thicken it. I also added half a teaspoon of redcurrant jelly to sweeten it a little before I passed it through a sieve. It tasted fabulous with Ramsay's beef wellington recipe as well, I'm just glad I started making the sauce 30 minutes before I put the wellington in the oven.

Times definitely need adjusting :)

annies51's picture

Mostly followed the recipe, used a quality Pukara Estate Black current Balsamic (2 &1/2 tbls) & a superb South Aussie Shiraz...bloody beautiful...only thing did differently was to press flavours through a sieve as we like a smooth sauce....served this with the tenderest Rump steak & went a bit retro & made a pocket, filling it with some plump Sydney rock oysters....Very nice indeed ...Thank you Gordon Ramsay :-)

KenC's picture

This is close to a classic recipe, not a Gordon Ramsay 'special', so it's difficult to understand the negative comments. My suggestion would be....

Use echalion shallots, otherwise known as banana shallots., and fry these on a slightly lower heat initially (without colouring) for 5-7 minutes to release the sugars, then turn the heat up a little and brown slightly before continuing. This will ensure you don't get a bitter taste in the end result.

When you reduce the balsamic vinegar, do this to the point that the oil 'floats'. This will not look like a syrup in the pan; rather, it will look like lumpy brown bits mixed with the shallots in the pan. Then add the wine and follow the remaining instructions. If you reduce too far and get an overpowering 'jus' then just add a little water.

Personally, I prefer a smoother 'jus' so would put the end result through a fine sieve at the end of cooking. I also prefer a thicker 'jus', so rather than add a knob of butter, I would use the butter to make a small amount of roux (i.e. equal quantity of butter to flour) and then strain the reduction into this, cooking through to thicken.

Quality ingredients do matter, but you should still get a good quality 'jus' from using average quality balsamic vinegar and red wine. The type of grape (for the wine) can make a difference. I would typically use a Pinot Noir, which gives a slightly fruity 'jus'.

ryko25's picture

I was expecting the sauce to reduce to a nice, thick jus but instead it remained the same watery consistency throughout. After 40 mins of boiling away I was left with the 250ml as in the recipe but hadn't thickened in the slightest. Very bitter taste. Won't be following this recipe again.

nicola444's picture

I find it hard to understand the comments on the vinegar aspect. I made this and reduced the vinegar thoroughly before adding the wine, it was certainly not overpowering. Overall a hit but getting the reductions right was a lot of effort but overall everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. We paired it with the recipe for Tom Kerridge Black Treacle Beef and it was outstanding.

marleysaunt's picture

Having a big dinner party next week and gave this sauce a try last night to make sure it would be ok. We ate it with sirloin steak and it was absolutely gorgeous. I noticed, when reading the comments, that a few have said that they didn't like it...perhaps down to personal taste of the cooks but I would strongly suggest that the wine and balsamic vinegar HAVE to be very good quality....the balsamic vinegar is more important than the wine in my opinion.....don't forget who's giving you this recipe...Gordon Ramsay wouldn't use just any old cheap balsamic ! and yes, it does take longer to reduce than stated but you can make it in advance and just add the juices before warming it up

geheimnis's picture

I agree with others on the vinegar front. It was all I could taste, however my father loved it, but the taste made me cringe. So glad I tasted before serving.
I will try this recipe once more, but cutting the vinegar down to 1 tbsp.
Served with Pan roasted duck breast, mashed potatoes and wilted asparagus.

criticalcook's picture

I agree with Andy, tastes like vinegar, takes ages to cook - 60 mins or so and was a waste of a good bottle of red wine, why oh why do you publish recipes that do not work as stated?

hutch0806's picture

Excellent flavour, used with Chicken (for the wife) and Duck breast 4 me - lovely!

megflah's picture

Love this recipe....everyone keeps saying how much longer it takes than 20 mins but doesn't specify how long?! So I thought I'd let you all know, prep takes 10 mins with 55 mins of cooking, the sauce takes ages to reduce. Enjoy!

arsenal-yummy's picture

A disappointing to be honest. But it had the virtue of being easy to make! Thought it made a lot of sauce, almost too much for our needs.

ruthy10's picture

I made this to go with a rack of lamb for a valentines meal. We thought it worked really well. Will definitely make again.

jonnyhart's picture

Great recipe - I'd also recommend adding 1-2 tsp of brown sugar whilst the stock is reducing if you like a little sweet edge to your sauces


Questions (3)

hungryalex's picture

At the risk of sounding a complete novice; what is the reason for reducing the wine first and stock second as opposed to adding both together and reducing? thanks in advance

Tyke's picture

Could I make this ahead then warm through and add the steak juices just before serving?

mashedpumpkin's picture

Yeah sure! First just take some clingfilm and put it directly on top of the liquid's surface to stop a skin forming though.

Tips (2)

Immycooks's picture

Really tasty. We used a tin of chopped tomatoes with a stock cube stirred in, instead of the stock. This is a great recipe and made plenty of sauce for our steaks. Would definitely make this again. :)

ExiledRoyal's picture

Brilliant taste and definitely one I'll do again. However, 5 minutes Prep. time and 20 minutes cooking isn't going to happen. From scratch it took me an hour.