This recipe is dedicated to all you gourmets out there who want to create over the top dishes. And tomorrow’s recipe for Stuffed Boneless Leg of Lamb using demi-glace as one of its key ingredients, definitely falls into that category. While I know there are lots of recipes for demi-glace more complicated than this one, trust me, this is bad enough! Oh, it’s not hard. It just takes time. And for some of you, a few hours dedicated to watching water boil might not be the way you would choose to spend your time. So for those of you who are too busy to see straight or are parents of small children (often one and the same), I would suggest you walk away from this recipe or stick to the version mentioned under “note” in the instructions section. Mind you, I’m not trying to discourage you from making this incredibly rich, highly concentrated French brown sauce. But please note, demi-glace is mainly used as a base for other sauces. You still need to prepare the dish into which this delicious elixir will be merely another ingredient. So again, I’m not trying to scare you, but sometimes a little shot of reality is appreciated. I am nothing if not practical. And I can practically promise you that even if you have time to spare and the kitchen is the favorite room in your home, you are going to be a little sick of boiling liquid by the time you are finished. So why did I even bother to post this recipe? Because ladies and gentlemen, demi-glace is amazing! It can lift a dish from ho hum to extraordinary faster than Super Man can lift Lois Lane from the arms of a villain. And that’s fast!
- 12-14 lbs. of bones and scraps of raw or cooked chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and a small amount of lamb
- 4 onions, chunked
- 5 carrots, chunked
- 10 sprigs parsley
- 12 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 qt. water
Spread meat and bones out in 2 large rimmed baking pans. (I use turkey or chicken wings and drumsticks, beef bones, a couple pork steaks and the cheapest cut of lamb I can find. I also freeze any scraps I cut off meat for a couple of months before I make demi-glace to make sure I have lots of flavorful ingredients available.) DO NOT SEASON MEAT. Bake at 400 degrees for about 75 minutes or until bones and scraps are well browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer bones and all drippings to a large covered stock pot. With a small amount of water, lift all the browned bits off the bottom of the pans and add to stock pot. Add onions, carrots, parsley, pepper corns, bay leaves, and water. DO NOT ADD ANY SALT. Bring liquid to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours. Remove from heat. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then slowly strain into another container. Discard bones and vegetables. Chill broth. (I usually refrigerate overnight.) Lift off as much of the fat as possible from the top of the now thin jelly like broth. Pour or scoop chilled broth back into a heavy pan. Rapidly boil uncovered* until there is only about 4 cups liquid remaining. Divide into 4 containers and freeze until ready to use.
*A helpful hint: your stove top will stay cleaner if you “cover” your boiling pan with a wire mesh splatter guard (they are shaped like a lid). The wire mesh allows the steam to escape, but keeps the mess to a minimum. They also work well when frying fish, chicken, and especially oysters. (Oysters tend to spit at you when they are being fried. I think it’s their way of getting even!)
Note: if you really don’t want to go through all this bother, you can simply reduce about 6 cups of beef broth down to one cup. But start with low sodium broth. It’s still going to be quite salty, and it certainly won’t taste as good as my homemade version, but it will work in a pinch.
Another note: I’m sure you noticed the lack of any type of alcohol in my demi-glace recipe. That’s because my 2 favorite recipes that call for demi-glace have wine as a primary ingredient. So in my opinion, it was best not to use any wine in the demi-glace itself. Watch for my other favorite demi-glace recipe Rack of Lamb with Kalamata Rosemary Crust to be posted in the next couple of weeks.