This sauce is traditionally made with shallots, brown butter, beef stock, thyme, tomato paste and Madeira. Many recipes call for the sauce to be strained to smooth it out but we like the texture of the sauce unstrained. We also like to use a combination of olive oil and butter just to cut the butter quantity a little. And instead of beef stock, we use chicken stock if we have any in the freezer or chicken stock powder and water. This Madeira sauce made in November 2007 was made with onions; we didn't have shallots. There is little difference in the flavour of the sauce whether it is made with onions or shallots.
This Madeira sauce made in March 2008 was made with shallots.
Ingredients for Madeira sauce are onions or shallots, butter, olive oil, flour, tomato paste, chicken stock powder, thyme (not shown), salt, pepper and Madeira.
Madeira wines first became popular back in the days of cross-Atlantic sailing ships, because they were able to survive long, hot trips in rolling ships. And they didn't just survive, they actually improved, so much so that sending them off on long round-trip sea voyages eventually became an integral part of their production.
Brown the butter.
Remove the browned butter from the heat and stir in flour.
Add onions or shallots and return the pan to the heat to cook the onions until they are soft and beginning to colour. These are onions in the photo but shallots look pretty much the same.
Remove pan from heat and stir in water and chicken stock powder (or even better, add chicken stock).
Add tomato paste and Madeira.
Add dried thyme (or fresh, if you have it) and a bay leaf if you want.
Return the pan to the heat and stir well. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper and a little more Madeira.
Serve Madeira sauce under and over a grilled chop with oven roasted potatoes and a green vegetable. Here it is with green beans.
Here, Madeira sauce is served with broccoli.