I think that brown sauce is a specifically british condiment (although if anyone here knows better please let me know). There are two major brands here in the UK: HP Sauce which comes in square-section bottles, and Daddies' Sauce which comes in more traditional round bottles. Of course there are many lesser varieties and supermarket own-brand versions, but HP and Daddies' are the market leaders.

The actual blend of herbs and spices used within each manufacturer's sauce is naturally a trade secret, but I will investigate a little and attempt to find out exactly what they put in this sauce.

Brown sauce is a similar consistency to tomato ketchup but is, naturally, brown rather than red, and has a sharper, slightly spicy flavour, with less of the sweetness usually associated with ketchup. It's the perfect accompaniment to bacon sandwiches and chip butties, and can also be used in cooking: I find that one or two dollops of brown sauce whenever a recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce can produce a subtle but tasty variant of the original dish.


achan tells me that HP Sauce is available in Canada, further proof that they are indeed a civilised nation who not only know how to spell but also appreciate the finer things in life!

From: The Thorough Good Cook

Sauces: 14. Brown

Take a pound or two of steaks, two or three pounds of veal, lean ham, some pickings of fowl, carrots, and onions; put all these into a saucepan with a glass of water, and set it on a brisk fire. When scarcely any moisture remains, put it on a brisk fire, that the jelly may take colour without burning, and as soon as it is brown, moisten it with stock (or water), add a bunch of parsley and green onions, two bay-leaves, two cloves, and some champignons; salt it well, and set it on the fire for three hours, then strain. Dilute, little browning with your liquor, and boil it an hour over a gentle fire ; take off all the fat, and run it through a tammy.

Brown Sauce is also called Sauce Espagnole and is one of the five mother sauces. Originally, Brown Sauce called for Bayonne Ham, veal, and partitridge. The currently accepted version comes from veal stock. There are several sauces that derive from Brown Sauce or demi-glace such as Polvrade, Medere, Chasseur, Bordelaise, Charcutier, and Robert.

You will need:

Procedure:

  1. Brown the onions from the mirepoix in the hot oil; add the remainder of the mirepoix and continue to brown
  2. Add the tomato paste; saute until lightly caramalized
  3. Add the brown stock; bring to a simmer
  4. Whip the roux into the stock.
  5. Simmer for appoximately 1 hour; skim surface as necessary
  6. Strain through a cheesecloth.

Source: The New Professional Chef (5th Edition)

Here in Edinburgh, brown sauce is a very different substance. Although we do still have HP and Daddies', it is not what will get produced when you ask for brown sauce.

Brown sauce, or chippie sauce as it is more commonly know is a thin liquid that comes from a nameless white plastic bottle. The sauce itself is very runny, dark brown in colour and has a sharp, acidic taste and very little in the way of a blend of herbs.

Chippie sauce is by far the most popular topping for chips around here and after getting served in any chip shop you will invariable be asked, "Salt and sauce?". Despite its popular appeal in the chip shop, you can't seem to get it in any supermarket or corner shop. Some chip shops have started selling old lemonade bottles filled with the forbidden sauce on their shelves, but there is no indication as to where this sauce comes from.

In my experience Edinburgh and the areas around it are the only places you can get chippie sauce. Elsewhere in Scotland and England they put a dollop of the thick sauce described above on top of your chips, in my opinion ruining them.

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