Thursday, December 27, 2007


I first learned to make demi glace in cooking school. It was an intricate process of taking a brown stock (a stock made from roasted veal bones, roasted mire poix, wine, brown roux and herbs) and simmering it into a thickened sauce. This sauce served as a "mother sauce" for the creation of countless other sauces.

When I got out into the industry, working is some of Toronto's top kitchens, I saw a different process being used to make demi glace. Basically the process was the same, but the roux was dropped out of the process altogether. The brown stock was fortified with the above listed ingredients and allowed to reduce to a thickened sauce via reduction. This yielded a cleaner, more intense tasting sauce. The actual yield was a fraction of what was yielded by the artificially thickened sauce, and that of course drive the cost up, but less was needed to flavor a sauce because of the concentrated flavor.


There are two types of stocks; blond stocks and brown stocks. A blond stock is made from raw (unroasted) bones , raw mirepoix, herbs and spices. A brown stock is made from roasted bones, roasted mirepoix herbs and spices. The roasting of the bones and mirepoix caramelizes the sugars found in these components of the stock giving flavor and color to the stock.


Mirepoix is the French name for a combination of onions, carrots, celery (either common celery or celeriac). Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sauteed with butter, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces. Mirepoix is known as the "Holy Trinity of French cooking.

Traditionally, the ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots. The ratio for bones to mirepoix for stock is 10:1. When making a white stock, or fond blanc, parsnips are used instead of carrots to maintain the pale color.

Stock Basics

I have chosen , here, to make a brown chicken stock. I have browned my raw chicken bones in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours at 425 degrees. This gives the bones a nice even golden brown color. Afterwards, I roasted the mirepoix in the oven until evenly browned also. Normally I would roast the bones and mirepoix together, but I had too many bones and there was not enough room for the mirepoix, so I roasted in two stages. If there is too many bones and too much mirepoix in a roasting pan, nothing will brown properly and that will effect the color and flavor of the stock.

Once everything is roasted, I transferred the bones and mirepoix to a large stock pot and added cold water. I filled the pot op just past the top of the bones. I then added some parsley stems, dried rosemary, dried thyme leaves, bay leaves, whole black peppercorns and a few cloves of raw garlic. Once everything was in place...I turned on the burner and let the process begin.

Once the stock reached the boiling point, I reduced the temperature and allowed the stock to slowly simmer over night. In the morning, I strained off the stock and threw away the spent bones and mirepoix.

From Stock To Demi

The was transferred to a smaller pot for reduction. I added to this basic brown chicken stock red wine and more roasted mirepoix. The stock was allowed to reach the boil and then was reduces to s slow simmer for reduction. When the stock had reduced by half of its volume, I strained it into a smaller pot and allowed it to reduce by half again. This was the finished product.

As you can see by the samples in the two glasses, the original brown stock is much lighter and transparent than the demi glace. The flavour is a fraction as intense also.

This demi is just a mother sauce for many other sauces and is usually used as a flavoring agent much like an "OXO" cube. However, this demi can be used "as is" as a sauce and it is super amazing!!


Anonymous said...

I've never had homemade demi before and I was lucky enough to try this particular demi - absolutely amazing! So many other uses for it too - a base for many soups and sauces, worth making and freezing for future recipes. Do yourself a favor and grab this recipe!

Livingston Cooks said...'ll be making it like a pro soon enough!!

learning... said...

just wondering the ratio of stock to red wine to roasted mire poix in the final reduction? thanks so much for sharing your stuff, it's a blessing for sure!

Anonymous said...

Hi, when simmering, do I cover or leave uncovered? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Jennifer Ball said...

Hey Livingston, the recipe photo (I think that's what it is) isn't showing. How much mirepoix and red wine do you use versus stock for the demi-glace?