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How to Make Soubise, a Three-Ingredient Onion Sauce for Grilled Meat

A plate of onion sauce on pork chops.
Quade/Adobe Stock

If you are looking for a way to level up your grilled meat dishes without using barbecue sauce, then this is the sauce for you. The Soubise sauce is quick and easy to make. You only need a few ingredients and you’re good to go. By the way, it not only goes well with grilled meats but with roasted meats and chicken, too.

In Classical French Cuisine, the Five Mother Sauces are the foundation of all the smaller sauces. One of these smaller sauces is the Soubise Sauce, which is an alteration of the Béchamel Mother Sauce. With just a few simple pantry ingredients, you are on your way to a thick and velvety sauce that can elevate most meat dishes.

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The traditional way to make a Soubise Sauce is to blanch the onions, make a Béchamel sauce, and then puree the onions and Béchamel together. The more modern process (and even faster way) is to add onion, butter, and cream and then puree. Either process will result in a nice rich sauce that you can spoon over that roasted chicken, grilled steak, or even the roasted pork loin.

A Béchamel Sauce is an easy way to create a creamy and flavorful sauce but you need to make sure you cook the butter and flour sufficiently to avoid that floury starchy taste. However, if you use the 3 ingredient recipe, you won’t have to worry about cooking the flour and you will also make your Soubise Sauce gluten-free!

The beauty of using Mother Sauces to create smaller sauces is that you can make variations of them. For example, the Soubise Sauce recipe calls for sliced and cooked onions. Another way to prepare the onions would be to smoke them at a low enough temperature to ensure they don’t char. You could even smoke the onions or roast them inside their husks so if they do char, you could easily remove the charred bits along with the husk.

This process would create an onion flavor with a hint of smokiness. After the onion is smoked, you can slice it up, place it in the saucepan with the cream and butter, and heat through. Then continue to the blender and strainer. You successfully added some depth of flavor to your Classic French Sauce.

Maybe you’d like to add additional seasonings. You could add cheese such as goat cheese, Comté, Parmesan, or even Gruyere. You could even play around with the types of onions you use. The recipe below uses white onions but what if you were to use Vidalia Onions or Walla Wallas? You just changed the entire flavor profile by swapping out the widely used white onion.

Maybe you decide to take it a step further by using only spring onions or cippolini onions. Of course, these onions are smaller than regular onions so you would need to use more of them but the spring flavors they bring out will be amazing.

If you have a meatless diet, you can drizzle these over roasted rosemary potatoes, cauliflower steaks, or how about a grilled portobello mushroom even? The possibilities are endless and you can adjust however you like. Another idea is to add curry powder or saffron and create an international-style sauce.

Soubise isn’t just a sauce; it can also be a casserole dish. All you need to do is add parboiled rice to the recipe below, add some grated cheese, and bake it until the rice is cooked through. The casserole is a perfect side dish for those roasted meats. You can find the complete recipe in Julia Child’s .

Soubise Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 medium white onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions and sweat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Be careful not to brown the onions. You want them to stay as white and clear as possible. There can be some discoloration but not much.
  3. Add heavy cream and warm through.
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Blend the onion and cream together. Pass through a fine strainer to make the sauce even more velvety.
  6. Serve with your favorite roasted or grilled meat or poultry.

Read more: How to Chop an Onion

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