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What do you use for making Demi-glace?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Not to beat a dead veal to death, but I have encountered all kinds of opinions on what constitutes the right type of bone/meat ingredients for demi-glace.

I thought I had read that the flavor is in the meat on the bones, and the gelatin is from the marrow/collagen.

That is why I've always used veal and beef neck bones because they have a nice mix of both, and they're usually relatively cheap.

However, a couple of chefs on egullet recommended using veal breast, declaring that it made a much better tasting demi-glace than neck bones. I've never heard that before, but looking at veal breast, it seems to have more meat than bone, and so I can see, assuming that the flavor comes from the meat, why it would give a better flavor demi-glace. Veal breast is more expensive than neck bones.

However, other chefs are telling me that just plain marrow bones (leg and knuckle) are very good, especially if split lengthwise so the marrow can exude more fully during simmering. Well, I can see where they would certainly provide the gelatin, but am concerned that without much meat on them, how could they taste as good.

So, what has been others' experience in selecting the roastable ingredients?

post #2 of 7
i've always used veal shank bones. Toss a split veal foot or 2 in the pot and it works well for me. I don't see the logic in using breast-unless they are boning it using breast for other production-bones into the pot. Or making a broth instead of stock-which is not the same thing anyways. Still, using shank bones makes for a not cheap product, breast would put it sky high.
Are you making a classical demi, or doing reduction-which in most common practice now days.
hth, danny

p.s. if your ordering see if you can get a few split veal feet to through in the pot.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Dano1,
Well, he says it's a 44 lb (#1) case of split knuckles and leg bones split lengthwise, without much meat. He told me it's from New Zealand, so it is one of the few offerings that he cannot split up.

On one of the beef sites I visited trying to scare up a new source, I read that one should not use shank bones because they don't taste as good. Now you see why I am confused!

So far I have been making my demi-glace in the classic tradition. First the stock from neck bones, simmering and skimming as necessary for 8-12 hours. Just so a few bubbles continually break the surface. Then I make and brown a roux using clarified butter, to which I add the mirepoix which was browned in the drippings from the roasting pan that I reserved. (I previously deglazed the roasting pan after reserving the melted fat, and added that to the stock).

Anyway, once the brown sauce is completed (about 1 gal) I add another gallon of the stock, and usually put in a sachet d'epice for good measure.

Sometimes I reduce about 60% and make up the difference with some 15 year age Drysack (ala Escoffier), and other times I just reduce 50%. IN either case, I end up with about 16 cups of demi-glace which I freeze in individual stainless steel little bowls with plastic covers.

Excess stock we usually can. One time mainly because I ran out of mason jars, I reduced the remaining stock 90% and put the resultant glace de viande in glass jars and froze it too. Haven't used any of that yet, but I'm told it will last indefinitely in the freezer.

One trick I learned though to save time in making the sauce is to prepare the clarified butter in very large batches ahead of time. After skimming it, I let it harden in large Pyrex covered bowls in the refrigerator. Upon loosening it the next day from the bowl, the water flows out of the bottom easily, and what few milk solids (?) that are left at the bottom of the chunk of hardened butter scrape off easily. I'm left with a big chunk of pure clarified butter which I then break up and weigh out 250g into individual Food saver vacuum bags. Then it is always ready in the freezer when i need it pre-weighed.

How do you do it?

post #4 of 7
I do the "modern" version. Brown off shank bones, add tomato product, pince`. Remove bones, add mirepoix , scrape to deglaze w/ veg juices. All in pot with bouquet and veal feet. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer skimming, pass. Reduce to desired consistency.

hth, danny
post #5 of 7
dano1,you got my vote!Stock comes from bones and broth comes from meat!
Keep it simple as the more you try to invent sometimes the more you get away from the basics! Keep cookin,doug.........
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just out of curiosity, I re-read what Wayne Gisslen had to say about stock making. According to him, stocks used to be made with meat and bones, but almost no one does that anymore due to the cost of the meat.

So I guess it's just whatever you want to do or are used to doing. I've made stocks for soups out of plain bones years ago, when the bones were free at the supermarket.

Then a few years ago, they started charging for the bones, cause too many people wanted to use them for dog bones!

If I have to pay, I want some meat on 'em!
You can take the cooked meat after making the stock, and make nice meat salad sandwiches with them. Um Um good!

post #7 of 7
traditionally, you use veal bones [9parts] and calf feet [1part], and cut them into walnut size, to obtain as much roasting surface as possible.
it would be wrong to use marrow bones, as the bone marrow will melt and just keeps you busy in skimming the fat off.

veal bones are best, as they are high in proteins, which eventually when reducing will thiken the liquid. [gelatine]

in regards of the flavor, you use a brown veal stock and not water in preparing the demi glace, there is no need to use meat.

some chefs use also pig skin as it is high in proteins.


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