Sauce Ravigote Chaude, a French Cuisine Classic

Something from Nothing: Sauce Ravigote Chaude


Cold sauce ravigote is the reference in many cooks’ minds, mounted like a mayonnaise with crushed cooked yolks, oil, and herbs. Indeed this is a standard on many Lyonnais menus with a slab of our beloved tête de veau. The hot version, sauce ravigote chaude, liaised with a roux-based velouté, plays a lead role in the steaming whole of a winter plate, thus keeping in tune with presenting a complete dish to warm us in these cold months. That’s more enjoyable right now than something cold dolloped on the side like a condiment, wouldn’t you agree?


The sauce ravigote chaude makes its way into my rotation when the weather cools considerably and we’re considering rich foods that can use the nice counterpoint of an acidic sauce to fill out the flavors of the plate.

Meat with sauce ravigote chaude

Sauce ravigote chaude can be served with roasted meats of all kinds. (c) Lucy Vanel

The sauce is made from a handful of this and that gathered out on a morning market stroll but you probably have all of these ingredients at home already: shallots, wine, vinegar, flour, butter, stock, herbs and capers.

Indeed, there’s no need to go on a hunting expedition when you’re in the mood for a silky sauce ravigote chaude. The hardest decision is trying to decide what to drizzle it over.


Winter Suppers Galore

I love a nice sauce ravigote chaude with roasted meats of all kinds, from oven roasted poultry to a pile of braised leeks or endives.

Winter vegetables filled out with sliced and sautéed fresh farm porc filet mignon beg for sauce ravigote chaude.

Steamed producer’s chicory with morsels of pan fried ris de veau, picked up as an afterthought at the farm stand made feast and famine intertwine this weekend, everything married with a to and fro of sauce ravigote chaude.

Followed by a wedge of local farmer’s tomme, a slice of country bread from the boulangerie, and a piece of fruit, the meal is complete.

Ingredients for the sauce ravigote chaude

All the ingredients can be found at a local morning market (c) Lucy Vanel

What’s a velouté in French cuisine?

About the term velouté: There are many multi-faceted cooking words that can mean many different things in French cuisine, depending what style we are referring to.

For example the word velouté, which translates literally to velvety or smooth. In classic French cuisine, it is one of the simple sauce bases, prepared with a roux of flour and butter, with the addition of poultry or veal stock.

As a more contemporary term first introduced by la cuisine nouvelle, velouté, seen on a restaurant menu can mean a soft velvety soup served on its own, or a dollop of flavor-infused smooth vegetable purée that serves to boost a harmony of varied flavors that are presented on a single plate.

For this sauce, we are going old-school. sauce ravigote chaude is one of the classics.


Bold Flavors Make a Ravigote

This is a recipe where we build a triad of bold flavors into a velvety base: tarragon, wine and vinegar enriched shallots, and capers are added to a roux thickened velouté.

Having some stock on hand is important for this recipe. The fresh herbs, capers, and a final mounting of butter push this sauce to exceed the sum of its parts, which, in my mind, is always the goal.



Ingredients needed to cook

Ingredients for the hot sauce ravigote

“The fresh herbs, capers, and a final mounting of butter push the hot ravigote sauce to exceed the sum of its parts”. (c) Lucy Vanel


  • 3 shallots
  • 45 grams or 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 30 grams or 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 40 grams or 3 generous tablespoons butter
  • 30 grams or 3.5 tablespoons flour
  • 350 grams or 1.5 cups veal or poultry stock, hot
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon, fresh finely chopped leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chervil, fresh finely chopped leaves
  • 1 generous tablespoon capers (preferably preserved in brine and not salt)
  • 50 grams butter (for finishing the sauce)
  • salt and pepper to season.


How to cook the Ravigote Sauce

  • In one small saucepan, combine the shallots, wine and vinegar.
  • Heat to boiling then lower heat immediately and allow to reduce slowly over very low heat, until all the liquid is gone. Don’t allow it to burn or brown at all.
  • In another saucepan, melt the first 30 grams of butter and stir in the flour until it’s a smooth paste.
sauce ravigote chaude by Lucy Vanel

Everything married with a to and fro of sauce ravigote chaude. (c) Lucy Vanel

  • Allow to bubble over medium heat briefly as you stir, and then whisk in the hot stock until smooth.
  • Allow the sauce to thicken and simmer, and stir occasionally as the cloudy velouté becomes more translucent, indicating that the starches in the flour are fully saturated with the stock and are now doing their job to thicken and stabilize.
  • Add the wine and vinegar infused shallot mixture to the velouté, and whisk to combine.
  • Add fresh herbs and capers, and stir to distribute them evenly in the sauce.
  • Gently sprinkle the 50 grams butter for finishing the sauce in little cubes onto the surface of the hot sauce and allow it to melt without stirring, then use a spatula to swirl it over the top to avoid forming a film.
  • With this butter film, you can keep this sauce warm over low heat until service, whisk the butter in at the last minute, and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary just before serving.