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post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new to these forums, but I'm hooked already!!

My question is, I'm trying to make a basic demi-glace from scratch, and I can't seem to find a butcher that carries veal knuckles... does anyone have any suggestions in the LA area? I'm located on the westside, so that would be preferred.

Also, do you have any suggestions or tips for a first time demi-glace maker?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 8
any marrow bone will be sufficient...
Have the butcher cut shanks for you; backs, and necks will work also...
The bones you want to avoid when making stocks are the ribs...
Marrow and connective tissues like collagen will break down during long simmering...
this collagen turns into water and gelatin...
Evaporate the water through reduction, and you are left with a gelatinous, full bodied stock...
classical demi-glace by definition is 1/2 brown stock, combined with 1/2 brown sauce, reduced by half...
Lots of "halfs" in there, hence the use of the word "demi", meaning half...

To get great flavor in any brown stock, you need to caramelize your onions, celery and carrots with tomato product...the french terms for these are "Pince" the "Mirepoix"...
by browning the tomato with the vegetables you get a fuller flavor and depth of color...

Its kind of like eating barbecue sauce out of the bottle, vs. eating it off of chicken which was carmelized on the grill...

Fuller range of flavor...

Best of luck...
Andrew Nutter C.C.C., C.C.E., F.M.P.
Chef Instructor
IUP Academy of Culinary Arts
Punxsutawney, PA 15767
Andrew Nutter C.C.C., C.C.E., F.M.P.
Chef Instructor
IUP Academy of Culinary Arts
Punxsutawney, PA 15767
post #3 of 8
There should be someone somewhere in the LA area where you can get veal. As the previous poster said, shank bones work just fine. Veal neck bones are ideal!~

I get my shanks from Venison America but they're in Wisconsin and the shipping would probably be prohibitive. But he sells 50 lb boxes of imported veal shanks from New Zealand grown without chemicals, antibiotics, etc.

I get veal neck bones from the local slaughter house.

Brown the bones. If you can get bones with some meat on them, that is even more in the fashion of the "old days". Some people brown their mirepoix with the bones half way through the oven cycle, others just brown the bones adding some tomato paste, and then in the grease in the roasting pan(after removing the browned bones) they add the mirepoix. Mirepoix by weight is 2 lbs onion, 1 lbs carrots, and 1 lbs celery. You can use that ratio for any amount larger or smaller. I like to make large batches of stock so that I can make the Espagnole sauce from some of it, and then add some stock to the Espagnole sauce and reduce (with the addition of a sachet d'spice or bouquet garni), and reduce that by 55%. Per Escoffier, you then add 10% dry white wine. Different editions of Escoffier recommend different wines. My edition from 1960's says a fine dry sherry.

Here his recipe

1 Qt. Fine Brown Stock
1 Qt Espagnole Sauce

Reduce down to .9 Qts and add .1 Qt Fine dry sherry.

Most importantly is to have the stock at a slow heat that just barely breaks a few bubbles consistently on the surface. Also it is worth while to get a metal strainer spoon specially made for skimming off the "crud". Never stir the stock. Treat it very gently. You want it to be very clear when you're through.

Strain it through a really fine Chinois or a strainer lined with finely woven cheesecloth.

From there you can continue on to make your Espagnole (Brown) Sauce, and then finally follow the recipe above.

In modern times, many chefs just reduce the stock down by 50% or so and call that demi-glace.

I'm just old fashioned and want to know what it was like to do it per Escoffier.

post #4 of 8
You could also make a beef demi, if you truly have trouble finding veal bones. Beef bones are plentiful, and while they will produce a stock with a bit more flavor and a bit less gelatin than veal bones, for a home cook it will still improve your cooking imeasureably.

I would favor, for simplicity sake, to make a normal brown stock then just reduce until desired. Pour into ice cube trays (specific for that purpose, mind you), freeze, and pop out and store in a ziplock. Whenever you need stock just grab a cube or two and away you go.

Good luck.
post #5 of 8
All great advice so far. The only thing I'd like to make you aware of is try to use very few knuckles because of the collagen. I prefer femur bones for the beef bones with no knuckles. The bones should also be no longer than 2-3 inches in length. For the veal I have used veal breast on many occasions. Not sure of it's availability in your area so the veal bones are fine but I don't use any knuckles here as well. Veal has enough of it already. If it were a perfect world.... I'd basically use 1/2 beef to 1/2 veal but like most things that were once cheap:cry: .... this can get expensive so I make due with what is available. ;)
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 


Thank you all for your advice, it looks like I'll be using pure beef bones this time around, I can't imagine it would be extremely different... besides, I only cook for my wife and I and the occasional group of friends, they will never know the difference!

I'm off to the store now, I plan on spending an awesome Sunday simmering, caramelizing and reducing!!

PS, when I do get my final product, will it hurt the demi to freeze it? I really like the idea of freezing the stock into cubes and I'm wondering if the demi will hold up?

Thanks again.
post #7 of 8
There's always a lot of discussion about exposing too much of the demi-glace surface to freezer air. Frost bite, that kind of thing.

I use stainless steel 1-Cup containers with tight fitting plastic lids. They fill up pretty much to the top, and little air is left inside. The caps are very tight, and I've had some in the freezer for a year or more, and they thaw out very nicely.

BTW: There is quite a difference taste wise between brown stock made from beef bones than from young veal bones.

post #8 of 8
Demi being highly gelatinous doesn't need much in the way of a thaw, a few minutes spoon what you need, the rest back in the freezer.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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