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Demi-glace | Manolo's Food Blog

Demi-glace

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When Lorna went into surgery for the second time in as many weeks, Mrs. Henry knew she had to prepare something delicious and nutritious, something to awaken an appetite numbed by anesthesia, an instant elixir to restore every weary faculty.

Like an Olympic competitor, Mrs. Henry dug deep.

From her mental recipe box she plucked a classic French veal stock equally serviceable as a demi-glace for vegetable dishes or as the secret flavor ingredient to any meat sauce or ragout.

Auguste Escoffier invented the versatile veal stock. Neither sweet nor salty, neither bitter nor sour, veal stock adds flavor and body to nearly any preparation. My Phuong makes this stock and freezes it in ice cube trays. She adds a single cube as a final touch to french beans or mushrooms. The results are sensational.
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Lorna drank two cups spoonlessly and pronounced it “worth living for.”

Mrs. Henry’s veal stock

2 veal shank bones (quartered by the butcher)
2 stalks of celery
1 onion, quartered
1 turnip, quartered
1 bunch parsley
1 handful of baby carrots
crushed peppercorns
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Roast the bones at 425˚ until golden brown, about 35 minutes. In 3-quart or larger pot cover with water, add ingredients and simmer for at least 4 hours. Let cool. Remove bones and pour stock through sieve. Refrigerate. When cool, skim fat. Reheat to liquid state and pour cheesecloth strainer (or fine sieve). Add salt.

Any veal bones will do nicely. Michael Ruhlman suggests veal breast, and his recipes are highly reliable.

You may roast the root vegetables, as well, but not for as long as the meat. Leeks work very well, too, as does fresh thyme, neither of which were available this time.

The extra step of refrigerating to remove fat ensures a lean, light broth. If you want a richer demi-glace for braising, however, skip this step.

8 Responses to “Demi-glace”

  1. Gil August 19, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    Lorna’s husband liked it too. Very much. Sipped soup silently in kitchen while groggy wife dozed. Wife was none the wiser. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Henry.

  2. raincoaster September 3, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    Um, are those TENTACLES? Cuz if they are, I think I am in love.

  3. Mr. Henry September 4, 2008 at 7:31 am #

    Size doesn’t matter, raincoaster. Mr. Henry finds solace in that well-established opinion.

    But length? Hmmm.

  4. raincoaster September 27, 2008 at 1:04 am #

    Well, I still can’t get him to return my calls, dammit!

    I am taking refuge in the Hendricks, on which I have gotten hooked at your excellent suggestion. Have you done a whole post on Hendricks? It certainly deserves it. I want to try the Magellan, too, but it’s $50 and out of my range. Maybe you can get a “media review bottle” and let me know how it is.

  5. Mr. Henry September 27, 2008 at 7:51 am #

    Ah, dear raincoaster, Mr. Henry sees you have found Hendricks, the libation of the rain gods as well as of the sun gods, the forest gods and the sea gods. Moreover, its tonic qualities have moved you to write at midnight even though you have a small child who will surely be getting you up in early in the morning. Cheers.

    Give up on the long-tentacled Swede, please. Let him remain as he always was – a poster boy, not the soundest basis for a committed relationship. (That poster, by the way, remains the best Olympic poster ever designed.)

    Yes, Mr. Henry posted twice about Hendricks:

    http://manolofood.com/mr-hendricks/

    http://manolofood.com/nagging-questions/

    Perhaps the Magellan would be a better name for a single malt scotch that takes you round the world, but its actual name is The Macallan. Not to worry. Any self-respecting bartender will be able to parse the order.

    For an excellent scotch at a price more satisfying to one’s inner Scot, try Highland Park. http://www.highlandpark.co.uk/

    As for a “media review bottle,” those are limited to launch parties for ghastly preparations like chili-flavored vodkas.

  6. raincoaster September 27, 2008 at 12:21 pm #

    No, no, there is an actual gin called Magellan. I hadn’t gotten THAT far into the gin, Mr. Henry.

    http://magellangin.com/

    At this rate, you’ll never get freebies better than chili vodka!

    And I prefer the Lagavulin to the Macallan, as far as Scotch goes.

  7. Mr. Henry September 27, 2008 at 1:32 pm #

    Ooops. Perhaps Mr. Henry hasn’t got far ENOUGH into the gin. Still, there is always hope.

    On the important question of Lagavulin vs. The Macallan, please take a look at Mr. Henry’s post: http://manolofood.com/whisky-for-dad/

    In the comments he notes the advantages of the 12-year over the 18-year Macallan.

  8. raincoaster September 28, 2008 at 12:30 am #

    Some day we will both achieve the perfect gin to scotch to oxygen blood ratio. It will take much experimentation.