Demi-Glace is traditionally made by mixing espagnole sauce (brown sauce) and brown stock. But I used a short-cut method to make my Demi-Glace. Instead of making the sauce and stock separately, I combined both to achieve a similar outcome.
Demi-Glace is a sauce in French cuisine. Last week, I posted the popular yōshoku (Western-style Japanese dish) called Hayashi Rice, which is made with Demi-Glace. So, I needed to introduce this recipe to you today.
The colour of the sauce is perhaps not as deep as the traditional Demi-Glace, but for a short-cut method, it’s pretty good to me.
Note: Espagnole sauce is a thickened brown sauce made with beef stock, vegetables, and a roux. It is one of the classic French sauces that has been around for centuries. The sauce has strong beef and tomato flavours. It is often used as a base with other ingredients. Brown sauce is made by roasting veal and beef bones, and simmer for hours to reduce. So, you can imagine how long it will take to make Demi-Glace using a traditional method!
I referenced the Demi-Glace recipe developed by the Japanese chef who specialises in French cuisine, Hiroyuki Sakai. I mentioned his recipe book in my post Hayashi Rice.
His cookbook not only contains the Hayashi Rice recipe that I used for my version of Hayashi Rice, but also the Demi-Glace recipe. So, I decided to follow his Demi-Glace recipe as well.
The uniqueness of chef Sakai’s Demi-Glace recipe is that you don’t make the espagnole sauce (brown sauce) and brown stock separately.
What’s in My Demi-Glace (Base Sauce for Hayashi Rice)
The list of ingredients is long, but there are no special ingredients.
- Beef conical muscles, cut into small pieces
- Chicken necks
- Garlic, smashed
- Onion, cut into small pieces
- Carrot, diced
- Celery, cut into small pieces
- Leek, cut into small pieces
- Tomato paste
- Red wine
- 5L/5.3qt water
Chef Sakai uses beef tendon in his recipe, but Japanese beef tendon comes with a lot of meat around it. The beef tendon I can find at Asian shops is just the whitish tendon with no red meat. So, I bought conical muscles which looked closest, although the tendon portion of the conical muscles was quite small compared to the Japanese beef tendon.
I used chicken neck instead of chicken carcasses, only because it was easier to handle. If you are using chicken carcasses, cut them into smaller pieces.
How to Make Demi-Glace (Base Sauce for Hayashi Rice)
I tried to follow chef Sakai’s instructions as much as possible, but where the instructions were not precise, I made an educated guess. I also altered the cooking durations where I felt appropriate. However, the overall process is the same as the chef Sakai’s recipe. Watch the video.
- Cut the beef into small pieces.
- Spread the beef pieces and chicken necks on a baking tray, without overlapping, and bake at 170°C/338°F for 45 minutes. They should have a charred surface.
- In the meantime, sauté garlic and vegetables. Add tomato paste, butter, then flour and mix well.
- Add red wine, mix well and transfer to a large stock pot.
- Transfer the baked meat to the pot.
- Add water to the pot and bring it to a boil.
- Simmer for 2.5-3 hours, occasionally removing scum as it rises.
- Drain through a fine sieve and collect the brown sauce.
- Condense the sauce to 0.9-1L/1-1.1qt (about half of the original volume).
- Leave it overnight to develop the depth of the flavour.
You need a very large pot to put the cooked meat and vegetables in, plus 5L/5.3qt of water. If your pot cannot take all of this at once, fill the pot with water as high as you can (allow for the bubbles when it is boiling), cook for a while to reduce the water level, then top up with the remaining water.
After step 6, you will see the sauce has thickened, but it is still watery. If your sauce is too thick, add water to thin it so that it goes through the sieve more easily.
How to check that the sauce is reduced to 0.9-1L/1-1.1qt
It is quite challenging to work out the quantity of the sauce in the pot without transferring it to a measuring cup (which you want to avoid). I use a bamboo skewer or a wooden chopstick (not lacquered) to see how deep 1L/1.1qt of liquid will be in my pot.
- Fill the pot with 1L water and place the stick at the bottom of the pot upright.
- Remove the stick and measure the length from the end of the stick to the point where the water mark ended.
- When the sauce is reduced to nearly half, put the same stick in the pot upright and check the depth of the sauce.
The quantity of Demi-Glace you make in this recipe is much more than you need for my Hayashi Rice recipe. But, just like making a soup stock, you will get a tastier sauce when you cook a large amount of it.
Demi-Glace can be the basis for a beef stew, and it can also be used to pour over the steak or Hamburger steak. It is sometimes poured over Omurice instead of tomato ketchup.
Demi-Glace is best to freeze it unless you are using all of it in a few days. Transferring it into small containers would be the best way to freeze it. If you are using it as a sauce for a steak, freeze the Demi-Glace in an ice cube tray, then transfer the cubes into a bag to store.
Watch How To Make It
Demi-Glace is traditionally made by mixing espagnole sauce (brown sauce) and brown stock. But I used a short-cut method to make my Demi-Glace. Instead of making espagnole sauce and brown stock separately, I kind of combined both to achieve a similar outcome. This Demi-Glace is used in my other recipe, Hayashi Rice. Watch the video.
This recipe is based on the Japanese French chef, Hiroyuki Sakai. My process of making Demi-Glace is almost the same as his recipe, with some adjustment to the ingredients.
Total Time does not include the time to leave the Demi-Glace overnight.
- 1kg/2.2lb beef conical muscles (note 1)
- 500g/1.1lb chicken necks (note 2)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 cloves garlic , smashed
- 250g/0.6lb onion , diced into about 1.5cm/⅝" pieces
- 100g/3.5oz carrot , diced into about 1.5cm/⅝" pieces
- 100g/3.5oz celery , cut into about 1.5cm/⅝" long pieces
- 100g/3.5oz leek , cut into about 1.5cm/⅝" long pieces
- 2½ tbsp tomato paste
- 100g/3.5oz butter
- 70g/2.5oz flour
- 200ml/7.1fl oz red wine
- 5L/5.3qt water
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/338°F.
Cut the beef into small thin pieces of about 1-1.5cm/⅜-⅝" thick.
Place the beef pieces and the chicken necks on a large baking tray, without overlapping, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes (note 3).
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion pieces to the pan and sauté until the edges of the onion pieces start browning slightly.
Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
When there is no moisture on the bottom of the pan, add tomato paste and mix.
Add butter to the pan and mix well until the butter melts completely.
Add flour and mix well ensuring that there is no white flour left in the mixture.
Add wine to the pan and mix well, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the flour stuck to it. Then, transfer the mixture to a large stock pot (note 4).
Transfer the cooked beef and chicken neck from the tray into the pot, including the juice in the tray.
Add 5L water to the pot (note 4) and bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 2-2.5 hours until the volume of the sauce reduces to about half (note 5).
Put the sauce through a fine sieve into a smaller pot. You need to do it in batches. Using a ladle or a spatula, squeeze the meat and vegetables in the sieve to get the sauce out of them as much as possible.
Bring the sauce in the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 40-60 minutes (note 6). You may occasionally stir the sauce using a spatula and scraping the bottom of the pot, in case the thickened sauce sticks to the bottom.
When the volume of the sauce reduces to 0.9-1L/1-1.1qt (note 7), turn the heat off and leave it overnight to develop the depth of the flavour.
1. If you can’t find beef conical muscles, you can use other stewing beef meat. Osso buco is perhaps the closest to it.
2. I used chicken neck so that I didn't need to chop them to cook them. You can use chicken carcasses as alternatives. If you do, cut the carcasses into smaller pieces.
3. It is OK to place the meat very tightly on the tray as it shrinks when it is cooked. After 45 minutes of cooking, the surface of the meat should be browned.
4. I used a 7.5L/8qt stock pot, which could not fit in everything in, i.e., meat, vegetables, and 5L/5.3qt water. So, I filled it with as much water as I could, allowing for the room to bubble while cooking, then topped up the rest of the water when the water level lowered.
If your pot is much larger than mine, you can add all of the water at once.
5. The sauce thickens slightly. The volume of the sauce at this stage does not have to be accurate since you will be condensing the sauce further. It is more important to ensure that the sauce is not too thick, which makes it harder to put the sauce through a sieve.
6. Depending on the size of your pot and the strength of the heat, the time to halve the quantity of the sauce varies. If you are using a very wide pot, it will evaporate the water faster.
7. To measure the approximate volume of the sauce without tipping it into a measuring cup, I use a bamboo stick, or a wooden (not lacquered) chopstick as follows:
i) Prior to cooking the sauce, fill the pot that you will be using with 1L of water.
ii) Place the stick upright in the water, then remove it and check the depth of the water by measuring the length of the wet part of the stick.
iii) When the sauce in the pot reduces to nearly half, put the stick in the pot upright and see if the brown line reached the same line as the water mark.
8. Demi-Glace can be used as a sauce for a steak and Hamburg steak, as well as the base for beef stew.
Excess sauce can be frozen for about 6 months. It is better to store it in small containers for use individually and freeze them. I used an ice cube tray to freeze it. Each cube is just the right amount to pour over a steak.
9. Below is the generic nutrition information per 100ml of Demi-Glace, not calculated from my ingredients, because it was impossible for me to work out from my ingredients.
serving: 269g calories: 96kcal fat: 5.7g (7%) saturated fat: 3.5g (18%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 0.2g monounsaturated fat: 1.7g cholesterol: 14mg (5%) sodium: 504mg (22%) carbohydrates: 6.3g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.3g (1%) sugar: 1.7g protein: 5.5g vitamin D: 0mcg (0%) calcium: 28mg (2%) iron: 1.3mg (7%) potassium: 504mg (11%)