Quick Bites from Pender

Brown Stock to Demi Glace to Glace de Viande – The Culinary School Method

In Lessons From Cooking School, Recipes on January 20, 2010 at 5:01 am


Warning:  this method may upset some sauce purists.  But this is the way I learned it, and a subsequent taste testing with a classically prepared version decided what I thought instinctively when I saw the classic method as laid out by the master, Escoffier:

  1. Make sauce espagnole by sweating mirepoix in fat, preferably clarified butter.  Add flour and cook to make a brown roux, stir in tomato paste to add colour and rich flavour.  Add brown veal stock and boil, then reduce to a SLOW simmer for 1-1.5 hours, allowing the sauce to reduce.  Skim occasionally to remove impurities.  Strain through a conical strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth.
  2. Combine 1 part sauce espagnole and 1 part brown veal stock and reduce by half.

Voilà, your demi-glace is ready!  It should be lump free, a glossy dark brown, and thick without being pasty.  (Yawn…)

Compare that with what Chef P taught us:

  1. Reduce a high-quality brown stock by half.

Voilà, your demi-glace is ready!  It is ALWAYS lump free,  glossy dark brown, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  It makes a contemporary, rich flavourful base with a lighter mouth-feel than the version above.

What are your instincts saying?


I used some of my demi to make this pink peppercorn diablo sauce — add crushed black & pink peppercorns and minced shallot to white wine.  Reduce by two-thirds over medium-high; strain.  Combine reduction with demi-glace and reduce to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat, season with s+p and cayenne to taste and finish with a pat of butter for some last minute thickening and gloss.  I served it over grilled lamb chops, with braised endive and horseradish mash.


Then, in what only be called a HERCULEAN effort at the end of a very long day of stock making, I reduced the remaining demi-glace by half again, resulting in a lustrous, gelatin-packed glace de viande.  I covered it very tightly and put it in the fridge to await it’s final fate.  I think it knows what’s coming, though;  it literally quivers with fear when I open the door.


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