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The Case for Demiglace

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am very interested in making a beef demiglace and have heard of some of the beneficial uses of it. I realize it might be a 2-day affair but after that brisket last week I can handle anything on the stove top.

1. How do you use demiglace?
2. What is a good recipe and technique for it?
3. Is there such thing as chicken demiglace?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 14
Yes there is a concoction called chicken Demi. and wrather then list all the ways to make a Demi, just type Demi Glace into your browser and you will find 60 different kinds and procedures. Me I use the one in a book called "Guide Culinaire By A. Escoffier"
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post #3 of 14
I also use Escoffier's method for demi-glace (half-glaze).

I would suggest using veal bones instead of beef bones, because of Mad Cow Disease. I'm told that a beef has to be at least 2 years old to get MCD. Veal is always butchered before 2 years.

Anyway, veal demi-glace is absolutely delightful, much more classy (IMHO) than beef demi-glace.

Simply, create 10 quarts of veal stock.

Take 6 quarts of veal stock and make 4 quarts of Espagnole sauce (Brown Sauce) also ala Escoffier.

Then take the 4 qts. of Espagnole sauce and add the remaining 4 qts. of veal stock. Reduce down to 45% of original volume (.45 x 8 qts = ~3.6 qts.).l Now you've got veal demi-glace.

I freeze mine in .9 C portions. When used, per Escoffier, I add 10% dry sherry. (Depending on the Escoffier translation and age of publication, the wine varies...my edition from 1964 says Dry Sherry).

We just used a portion of my demi-glace two nights ago. I got a cast iron pan as hot as possible on my gas cooktop. I had already dry rubbed my filet mignons when I vacuumed food-saved them ( I buy whole tenderloins and trim and cut them up into as many tenderloin steaks as I can). After about 3 minutes per side, I stuck the whole pan in a preheated 450 F oven for 8 minutes. I took out the pan, removed the steaks and tented them (on a plate with a pot lid over them). I then added 2 TBSP unsalted butter and diced shallot to the cast iron pan (now on the stove top). I deglazed with some 15 year age Spanish Dry Sack (sic?) white wine. I added the demi-glace (it is like gelatin). I added some S&P. I added about 3-4 TBSP of very fine Danish blue cheese (the local store says they can't get Iowa Maytag blue cheese anymore, but this stuff was almost better tasting anyway). Once the cheese is incorporated into the sauce, I reduce slightly, and spoon over the filets. Any drainage from the tented steaks goes into the sauce before using it.

Along with some baked potatoes made into mashed potatoes (the demi-glace makes a mighty fine gravy too!), I also steamed some brussel sprouts, drained, added juice of 1/2 juicy lemon, some parmesan cheese, S&P and a lot of freshly grated nutmeg. They were delicious. The whole meal was delicious. But I read that Venison America cannot get a good deal on New Zealand veal bones anymore. I used to get 40-50 lbs at a time and make a lot of veal stock. Some I used for demi-glace. Some I canned. And depending on the non-availability of jars, I've reduced leftover stock into Glace de Veau Viande and stuck it in the refrigerator. It lasts for literally months!

doc
post #4 of 14
It's a lot of work, but worth it.

There are also commercial demiglace of good quality avialable. See Demi-Glace & Gourmet Sauces by More Than Gourmet: Chicken Stock, Veal Stock and Gourmet Vegetable Stocks Under their shopping link is a link to a store finder. It's expensive, but considering the time investment in demi and the quality More Than Gourmet provides, I think it's worth it. Buy the 1 pound tub. It's a better deal than the 1.5 oz packet and it keeps well.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 14
EVERYTHING SOUNDS DELICIOUS. When I served my apprenticeship which was a heck of a long time ago we made Glace De Viande and stored it in plastic souffle cups. I call it the original soup:chef: base ,as in those days there was no commercial soup bases. We would take a 20 gal. pot and reduce it down to about a quart and a quarter. After it set you could bounce it off the walls it was great, but then those were the days when nothing came already made everything was scratch. Also Doc they make a great maytag bleu here in Florida ask at your cheese store its from a small farm.
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post #6 of 14
I don't think so, Ed. They may make a cheese similar to Maytag blue, but only Maytag Dairy Farms in Iowa makes the Maytag blue. Been doing so since 1941. It's one of the great blue cheeses ... it's made by a process developed by Iowa State University a few years before. It's truly an American cheese.

Less well known is the white cheddar that Maytag makes. Not too bad. They also make a Swiss cheese.

The cheese, BTW, is made by the same family that founded the home appliance company, and "Fritz" Maytag is the driving force behind Anchor Steam beer.
post #7 of 14
Mad cow isn't much of an issue in the USA yet. And if you buy organic beef the chances dissapear. Mad cow comes from feeding cattle feed thats made from cattle rendering. I make a huge pot of stock every time I buy beef. I may not reduce it to quite a demiglace but it sure is nice having cubes of it in the freezer(I freeze in ice cube trays).
post #8 of 14
I should have said Maytag Style Bleu.. When I was in San Fran a few years ago I had Anchor Steam great beer creamy foamy head in a tall pilsner glass.
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post #9 of 14
Demi-glace is primarily used as an intermediate step in creating daughter sauces such as bordelaise, aux morilles, perigeaux and diable -- to name a few. If you're not interested in creating these sorts of sauces, you won't find demi particularly useful. I'm not trying to talk you out of it -- just trying to help locate the context.

As already said, yes you can make a chicken demi. In fact, it's very useful for things like chasseur. You make it the same way as making a regular demi ... wait a second, skipping a step. There are three kinds of demi -- regular, veal (or brown), and chicken.

Okay, where were we... oh yes. You usually make a chicken demi with roasted chicken stock.

It takes a little less than an hour to make an espagnole from sauce. And about two hours or a little more to make a demi from an espagnole. I'll go through the process with a little bit more specificity than has already been posted -- again more for orientation than anything else. But, since you didn't ask for recommendations making beef (or veal) stock, I'll restrain myself and assume you know what you're about.

An espagnole is an enriched, slightly reduced and slightly (roux) thickened intermediate sauce. It is good for no other purpose -- not to put too fina a point on it, but it tastes like crap on its own.

To make 1 quart of espagnole: Saute 2 cups of mirepoix in 2 tbs butter to which a little oil has been added; and when the mirepoix starts to color, lower the heat to medium, push the mirepoix to one side, and add 2 tbs tomato paste, to the empty space. Allow the paste to cook a minute or two until a fond starts to form on the bottom of the pan, then push the vegetables through the paste and cook until the paste darkens (about three minutes). Add a 4 trbs butter, and when that melts, add 4 tbs flour, and cook until the flour browns (peanut butter). Add 6 cups of stock, bring it to a boil so the flour thickens it. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue cooking until the sauce is reduce by about one third -- it will be a stiff nappe. Remove from the heat, and sieve the sauce, pressing the mirepoix against the sieve to extract its essence.

To make a quart of demi, add one quart of stock to one quart of espagnole, bring to a boil reduce to a simmer and reduce by 50%. Off the heat, add two tbs of an off-dry wine such as an amontillado sherry, a "dry" madeira or a dry marsala.

During the French cuisine revolution of the sixties and seventies it became popular to shortcut the route to demi-glace so no espagnole was necessary. The most popular method was something Julia Child called a semi-demi, which is essentially a jus lie with an extra couple of steps. More recently it became popular to avoid the roux and to use pure reduction.

Glace de viande -- which is a 10:1 reduction -- is frequently used as a broth or sauce base. It does not require any intermediate steps. Just get some beef or brown stock and get on with it. It is frequently used to make a sort of quick demi by diluting it about 4:1.

BDL

I serve my truffled, smoked brisket with a "barbecue bordelaise" which depends heavily on beef demiglace.

Good luck,
BDL
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't know what any of these sauces are. I'm just looking for something I can drop in that will add flavor to a soup or broth. Or maybe for a pan sauce to go with steak or chicken.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #11 of 14
That's the first time I've ever heard that proclammation. I'd always thought daughter sauces came from mother sauces, and the last time I looked the mother sauces were:

Allemande, based on white stock, thickened with egg yolk
Béchamel, based on milk, thickened with roux
Espagnole, based on brown stock, thickened with roux
Velouté, based on a white stock, thickened with roux

Carême's number 1 student/disciple Georges Auguste Escoffier added 3 more to the list of Mother Sauces based on:

tomato based sauces (take your pick)
butter based sauces - like Hollandaise
emulsion based sauces - like Mayonnaise

Therefore I would hazard a guess that it is not true demi-glace, but the precursor Espagnole sauce from which the daughter sauces mentioned are made.

But then, what do I know? :)

doc
post #12 of 14
Doc,

You have a point on the mother/daughter thing. Sometimes, the jargon break down is mother sauces, daughter sauces and little sauces. However, modernly and "technically" all of the sauces which are not mothers are referred to interchangeably as compound sauces, and I believe this was Escoffier's terminology as well. However, while I can read a recipe in French to the point of being able to follow it, I don't actually read French, so can't be sure what Escoffier's terminology was.

You have to remember, cooking isn't physics. There's no universally agreed upon terminology. Furthermore, the migration of French terms into English is extremely uncertain. English gets in the way and adds a number of words on its own which may or may not have exact French parallels. There's a thread from last month that concerned the difference between "stock," "broth," and "soup." All of us who worked in "French" or "Continental" or other "Fine Dining" kitchens had the same feeling as to the distinctions -- but there's no difference in French.

Also, I did not refer to demi as a "mother," but as an intermediary on the way to other daughters.

There are not, nor were there ever, seven "Mother" sauces at one time. A good mnemonic (well, my mnemonic) for Escoffier's mothers is, "they are the Very BETH." That is, VBETH. Veloute, Bechamel, Espagnole, Tomate and Hollandaise. Allemande had dropped from favor before Escoffier wrote the Guide -- but it's interesting (I guess) to note that he almost single handedly brought it back when he was in France for the Great War, by creating a couple of Allemande daughter presentations. IIRC, the big one was some sort of fish Parisienne. But war over, and it was back to London and Allemande wasn't around enough to be considered a mother.

You understand the relationship between Careme and Escoffier somewhat differently than I do. You see the "student and disciple" line around the internet a lot, but it's a bogus.

Careme cooked and wrote about 100 years before Escoffier. Sometimes it's said that Escoffier assumed the "mantle," but their approaches and styles were very different. It's fair to say that Escoffier was no more of a student or a disciple of Careme than he had to be. To the extent that he was a student, Escoffier was certainly a student of cooking and Careme was the great, dead authority. But, Escoffier's tendencies were to simplify and lighten the "classics," and to make them distinctly his own. He was more revolutionary than disciple.

It's important to remember that although he wrote the Guide, which was certainly the most important cookbook in France of its time, Escoffier wasn't exactly the be all and end all of actual French cooking. Not to diminish his importance or his greatness, but he was primarily based in England and his actual cooking was not that influential in France.

Just as important to modern French cooking are Pellaprat and Mme E. Saint-Ange. You can't really disassociate them from Escoffier, but you can't diminish their contributions to "also starring," either. In fact, if you're interested in the "classic" cooking of pre World War II France, you'd be much better of with a cookbook by Pellaprat or Saint-Ange than with the Guide. I can tell you with confidence born of being there that these were the two sources from which California Cuisine sprung, and believe also that Nouvelle Cuisine and Cuisine Gourmand are based upon them as well. In other words -- the entire edifice of modern "French" cooking.

I think it's a mistake for home cooks to overemphasize Escoffier or to take too much from his cookbooks. It's fun to connect with the history of haute cuisine, and fun to sample the tastes of the well-off dead, but it's not what cooking is anymore, and not a particularly good way to get to it. Escoffier's greatest strengths as a chef were his willingness to modernize and adapt while mainataining the highest standards. For instance, he developed the (then) modern kitchen brigade. As a food scholar and writer his greatness lay in the way he organized dishes (haute, impromptu, regional, bourgeois) and his openness to a variety of cuisines.


BDL
post #13 of 14
Demi is the hard way to flavor or structure a soup. There are better ways -- even DIY better ways. Why go through the whole espagnole rigamarole?

Demi is very useful for pan sauces. If you use it, following a deglaze, your pan sauce will technically become a "compound sauce." You should not only say it when you serve it, but look smug. Smug makes it very French. If you're improvising a pan sauce on the fly, it's fun to have demi around. Because the quantities are so small, I find that doing straight reductions in the pan are easier than the demi process. When it comes to pan sauces, if I have demi, I'll use it; but if I don't, I won't miss it.

At your level of skill and interest, doing the demi at least a couple of times is a great idea. You might want to pick up a book that has a lot of sauces. You'll find that many of your improvisitional ideas have been done and have names. You don't have to follow the recipes exactly -- indeed, they're not really intended to be used that way; but the reading can save you from making big mistakes in terms of what shouldn't go in there; and can help you put together some pairings you might not otherwise have thought about. For instance, a demi-glace lightened with fruit for duck.

BDL
BDL
post #14 of 14
Both Doc and BDL are both correct. The culinary schools today spend time going over all of these things, and they are great to know. It is sad though that all of the food service places today are Dollar and profit consciece. Could any one today comprehend the boiling down of 7 hams to form a reduction for a pint of sauce as Vatel did in his day ? It's sights like this that try and keep it alive. I sometime think we are fighting a loseing battle to economics and todays attitude of accepting mediocraty.
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