Demi-glace is a concentrated rich brown sauce that can be spooned over steak, seared duck breast, or pork chops, or used as a foundation to enrich other sauces and soups. It can give a braised meat sauce an extra boost of flavor or can be stirred into a stew to add a savory richness.
To make demi-glace at home, you will need to start by making an espagnole sauce, a French mother sauce made with beef or veal stock. If you happen to have some espagnole sauce in your fridge or freezer, you’ll be ahead of the game.
To make a demi-glace sauce, you simply combine equal parts espagnole and beef stock with aromatics and simmer until it reduces by half. That’s all there is to it!
Tips for Making Demi-Glace
Like espagnole sauce, the flavor of demi-glace depends upon the quality of the stock you use.
- Unfortunately, most store-bought beef stock doesn’t have much flavor. If you’re only option is a store-bought stock you can build the character and flavor by taking a few extra steps.
- Add 2 tablespoons of a combination of finely chopped onions, carrots and celery to a quart of beef stock.
- Toss in a pinch of dried thyme and a bay leaf.
- Stir in 1/2 cup red or white wine, and a teaspoon of tomato paste.
- Simmer the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes
- Strain and taste. Don’t add salt to the stock. If you do, it will make the demi-glace sauce to salty.
Although demi-glace is usually made with beef or veal stock, you could also use homemade chicken stock to make the sauce. Since you will mostly use demi-glace in other preparations, only add salt to the finished sauce (I know I already said this, but it bears repeating.)
How Do You Use Demi-Glace?
By itself, demi-glace can be spooned over meat or poultry, but its main function is to enhance other sauces, soups or stews.
- Stir it into a pan sauce for an extra boost of flavor.
- To make a sauce for Steak au Poivre, reduce red wine, crushed peppercorns, and demi-glace for a special steak dish.
- Add it to Coq Au Vin or combine it with mustard to serve with a crispy roast chicken. Give a mushroom pasta dish some punch by stirring in a spoonful of demi-glace.
How Do You Store Demi-Glace?
Demi-glace will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days, but it’s best to store it in the freezer in ice-cube size portions. Pour it into an ice cube tray and once it is frozen, transfer it to a double plastic freezer bag. It will keep for up to 6 months.
When you need an extra punch of flavor in your recipe, just add a cube of demi-glace to the sauce or stock.
More Mother Sauce Recipes for You!
Classic Demi-Glace Sauce
- 1 sprig thyme
- 4 parsley stems
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 2 cups unsalted beef or veal stock, preferably homemade
- 2 cups espagnole sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry, or to taste (optional)
- Special Equipment
- String or cooking twine
Make the herb sachet:
Place the thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf, and peppercorns in the middle of a 6-inch square of cheesecloth. Gather the edges to form a pouch. Tie with a piece of string.
Reduce the stock and sauce:
In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine the beef or veal stock and espagnole sauce. Add the herb sachet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the sauce has been reduced by half. In the end you should have about 2 cups of sauce.
Strain the sauce:
Remove the herb sachet. Set a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth over a medium bowl and strain the sauce.
Season and storage:
If using as is, season with salt to taste and add dry sherry. If using it to make another sauce, do not add the salt. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or store in the freezer in small portions for up to 6 months.
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