In this shortcut recipe, instead of making the stock from scratch, store-bought stock or broth is used. It won't have the same body as a homemade demi-glace, but it'll save you about 8 hours.
Use the best quality stock or broth you can find and stick to the low-sodium, reduced-salt (or even no-salt) varieties. Reducing concentrates the saltiness, and you don't want your finished sauce to taste like a salt-lick.
You'll need some cheesecloth for straining the sauce and also for making the sachet d'épices, as well as some cooking twine for tying it up.
- For the Sachet d'Épices:
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 to 8 fresh parsley stems
- 8 to 10 whole peppercorns
- Cooking twine
- For the Sauce:
- 1 ounce clarified butter (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped carrots
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 cups beef stock
- Place the bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems and peppercorns onto a square of cheesecloth and tie it up into a bundle with cooking twine.
- Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, and add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté them for a couple of minutes, until the onion is partially translucent.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir to form a paste. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently until the flour is lightly browned, but by no means burned.
- Now, whisk in 3 cups of the beef stock.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer, add the sachet and reduce for about 20 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about 1/3.
- Remove pan from heat and retrieve the sachet (and set it aside). Carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.
- Now, return it to the pan and stir in the remaining 2 cups of stock and return the sachet to the pot.
- Bring back to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for about 50 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half.
- Discard the sachet. Strain the sauce through a fresh piece of cheesecloth. Season to taste with kosher salt. (But if you're using the demi-glace to make another sauce, season at the very end.)
Note: Demi-glace will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and in the freezer for months.
All About Demi-Glace
Demi-glace is an amazing sauce to serve with red meats, like roasts and grilled steaks and such. The only difficult thing about it is that making it from scratch can be quite time-consuming.
Fortunately, you can save a lot of time by making your demi-glace with store-bought beef stock or beef broth.
Purists might raise their eyebrows at this, but the reality is that if something's too hard to make, you're probably not going to make it. Which is a shame, because everyone should be able to enjoy the deep, rich, sumptuous flavor of demi-glace, which is pretty much the ultimate sauce.
In addition to standing on its own, you can use demi-glace to make other sauces. Add some red wine and reduce it for a bit and you have the classic red wine sauce. Do the same with mushrooms and shallots and you have a traditional mushroom sauce.