Is your steak dinner lacking a little something? Learning how to make demi glace—a traditional French sauce that’s packed with flavor—can enhance nearly any meal. Making your own demi glace is time consuming, but the flavor payoff is worth it. Below, learn more about this sauce, including what’s in it and how to make it.
What Is Demi Glace and What Is It Made Out Of?
Demi-glace is a rich brown sauce often used in French cuisine. It can be served with roasted meats and steaks or used as a base for other sauces, such as mushroom or red wine sauce.
The two main components of demi-glace are:
- Brown stock: The traditional preparation of demi-glace sauce is made with veal stock, but some variations use beef or chicken stock.
- Espagnole sauce: This sauce is one of the five grand (or “mother”) sauces of French cuisine (the others being béchamel, velouté, hollandaise, and tomato).
Demi-glace is made by combining brown stock and Espagnole sauce, then reducing it for several hours until it transforms into a thick, meaty glaze.
When the term demi-glace is used on its own, it implies the glaze is made from the traditional veal stock. However, by using other types of stock, you can make variations of the sauce, like beef demi glace or chicken demi glace.
What You Need to Make Demi-Glace From Scratch
If you want to learn how to make demi-glace from scratch, you’ll start with the stock. This requires:
- Several pounds of veal or beef marrow bones
- Mirepoix (a mix of diced carrots, celery, and onion)
- Tomato paste
- Herbs and seasonings (e.g., bay leaves, dried thyme, peppercorn, garlic, and parsley)
For the Espagnole, you will need:
- Some of the veal or beef stock that you previously prepared
- Tomato puree
- Herbs and seasonings
The exact quantities of ingredients and types of seasonings will vary by recipe, but these core ingredients will get you started toward making a traditional demi glace sauce.
If a recipe calls for demi glace and you don’t have time to make it from scratch, you can combine two quarts of homemade veal or beef stock with two tablespoons of red wine. Simmer and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Don’t want to make stock at all? In a pinch, you can use canned beef consommé in place of the stock—then add the wine and reduce in the same way.
Where to Buy Demi Glace Sauce
If you’d rather skip the time-consuming process of making demi-glace, you can buy it at many upscale grocery stores or on Amazon. If you’re wondering where to find demi glace in grocery stores, check near the broths, stocks, and bouillon.
4 Demi-Glace Recipes
1. Veal Demi Glace
French chef Auguste Escoffier developed one of the most recognized, standard recipes for veal demi glace. This traditional recipe is involved—it calls for 50 pounds of veal bones—but creates a complex, delicious sauce that can enhance any meal.
2. Beef Demi Glace
While beef demi glace, by nature, requires several hours of simmering and reducing, this recipe from The Spruce Eats provides some useful tips for managing your timeline. By making each of the ingredients ahead of time, you can spread out the steps over several days, making the process much less daunting.
3. Chicken Demi Glace
An alternative to beef- or veal-based sauces, this chicken demi glace recipe from TheFoodXP starts with a stock made from chicken wings. Even though it’s made from chicken, this sauce still pairs well with red meat, like steak.
4. Red Wine Demi Glace
Like a traditional demi glace recipe, red wine demi glace starts with veal or beef stock. However, it also incorporates the complex, robust flavor of red wine. This recipe from Gourmandize calls for two types of mushrooms, as well, creating a flavorful variation of the classic sauce.
Making your own demi-glace isn’t simple or quick, but the end result is worth the effort. Even if it takes a few days, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious addition to your steaks, roasts, soups, and sauces—and you will surely impress all of your dinner party guests.
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