Classic Demi Glace Recipe

September 21, 2015 4 Comments

Classic Demi Glace Recipe

What is Demi Glace?

I am a huge fan of demi-glace for preparing classic sauces like mushroom or peppercorn sauce but I have to warn you, it is a huge process to make classic demi glace at home.  It is not for the faint of heart but well worth the effort – at least once.

Demi-glace is a richly concentrated brown stock that is carefully reduced until it forms a deep meaty flavored glaze. You start by roasting a lot of meat bones (veal & beef) to make a basic brown stock that takes hours and hours to simmer and reduce. And you have to make a lot of it because you need a bunch of it to prepare a classic Espagnole sauce but then some more to make the demi glace. Confusing right?

A classic demi glace is a combination of Espagnole sauce with brown stock that is slowly reduced by half.  You must take your time reducing the demi glace to prevent burning which would ruin the sauce and you would have to start over.

Making demi glace at home, in culinary school or a high end restaurant is arduous and extremely time consuming but when done right, the backbone of most of the world’s greatest sauces. It is one of the first lessons taught at some culinary schools because it teaches students about ingredients, reductions, detail and patience.  As a culinary student or home cook, you’re likely to spend many hours preparing this important ingredient.

 How to Make Demi Glace at Home

Over time, there have been many variations for preparing demi-glace until Auguste Escoffier standardized it in his Le Guide Culinaire, but I think this recipe adapted from The Food Network is a good one for anyone preparing it at home.  Most restaurant chefs make a big batch of demi glace because they use it in a lot of recipes and it takes a lot of work.

There is no real shortcut for classic demi glace, you have to roast a lot of bones, simmer the liquids for hours, reduce, reduce and reduce some more.  I’m sure you are looking at this recipe that calls for starting with 1 gallon of brown stock and 1 gallon of Espagnole sauce to finish with a gallon of demi glace and thinking, No Way and I don’t blame you. This means you have to start with 2 gallons of brown stock, 1 for the Espagnole sauce and 1 for the demi glace.

You could try cutting the ingredients in half or even quarter them. This will reduce the overall amount of time it will take to prepare classic demi glace plus you won’t be filling your freezer with small containers of the stuff but it still takes a lot of work to do it right.

Classic Demi Glace Recipe

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 7 hours

Total Time: 7 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 gallion

Classic Demi Glace Recipe


For the Brown Stock

8 pounds veal marrow bones sawed into 2-inch pieces

6 pounds beef marrow bones sawed into 2-inch pieces

16 ounces tomato paste

4 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped carrot

2 cups chopped celery

4 cups dry red wine

1 bouquet garni

Salt and pepper

16 quarts of water

For the Espagnole Sauce

1 gallon brown stock, hot

1 1/2 cups brown roux

1/4 cup bacon fat

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery


Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup tomato puree

1 bouquet garni

For the Demi Glace

1 gallon Espagnole sauce, hot

1 gallon brown stock, hot

1 bouquet garni

How To Prepare At Home

Steak with Demi Glace Sauce

To Make the Brown Stock

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the bones in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Remove the bones from the oven and brush with the tomato paste.

In a mixing bowl, combine the onions, carrots, and celery together. Lay the vegetables over the bones and return to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat.

Place the roasting pan on the stove and deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan for browned particles. Put everything into a large stockpot. Add the bouquet garni and season with salt.

Add the water. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the stock for 4 hours, skimming regularly. Remove from the heat and strain through a China cap or tightly meshed strainer.

Yield: about 2 gallons

To Make the Espagnole Sauce

In a stock pot, whisk the hot stock into the roux. In a large sauté pan, heat the bacon fat. Add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir the tomato puree into the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato/vegetable mixture to the stock/roux mixture. Add the bouquet garni and continue to simmer, skimming as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer the sauce for about 45 minutes. Strain the sauce through a China cap or tightly meshed strainer.

Yield: 1 gallon

To Make the Demi Glace

In a stock pot, combine the Espagnole sauce, brown stock and bouquet garni, together, over medium-high heat.

Bring up to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and a simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 1 1/2 hours. Skim the liquid occasionally, for impurities. Season with salt and pepper.

Strain through a China Cap or tightly meshed strainer.


What If You Don’t Want To Prepare It From Scratch?

Lucky for us, we don’t have to make our own demi glace at home even if you don’t have a friend who is a professional chef and willing to part with some of this brown gold. You can find commercial products that are good, not as good as making it yourself, but really good.

I have been using a commercial demi glace product for years from a company called More Than Gourmet. Their Demi-Glace Gold is all natural and as close as I think you can get to homemade tasting. There are also some other products on the market that are much cheaper than Demi-Glace Gold using other than all natural products that have received good reviews from other sources.

I’m not making classic French sauces every day, so I don’t mind paying a little extra for the Demi-Glace Gold and the rest of More Than Gourmet’s product line including Glace de Poulet Gold. You may also be interested in my article, Making Sauces at Home that describes my 5 Step Method for Preparing Professional Quality Brown Sauces.

Demi Glace Gold does not have to be refrigerated until it is opened and then has a 6 month to 1 year shelf life. I can prepare about 16 sauces out of each pound unless I’m cooking for friends.

One ounce of Demi Glace Gold reconstitutes into about 5 ounces of demi-glace which is perfect for making a tasty sauce for me, my wife and two daughters.

Last modified on Mon 21 November 2016 10:43 am

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Comments (4)

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  1. Tonessa says:

    I don’t understand this recipe. It looks like a rehash of Emeril Lagasse’s which I don’t care for much either. First I don’t know why you are adding beef bones to the delicate flavor of the veal bones (which by the way have a more gelatinous marrow which is ideal in demi glaces). Also, that is way, way too much tomato paste. Most recipes call for 6-8 oz., you have a whole 16 oz. That would give a very heavy tomato flavor thus being very assertive in the end product. The yield of 2 gallons is outrageous. It makes me wonder if you ever made this queen of sauces. These comments are not meant to be pejorative, rather a general concern. I am the daughter of a restaurateur and have been cooking more than 30 years. I am just puzzled.

  2. Chuck says:

    This is a “rehash” of Emeril’s recipe. However, if you follow Emeril’s recipe, you don’t get enough brown sauce to construct the finished product. The yield in this recipe is just right and also what is necessary to end up with the desired amount of finished product. Also, veal bones are very hard to acquire outside of the commercial market. Lastly, you don’t have to use all the tomato paste.

    I like the recipe and unlike Sokolov’s process, it does not take two days to complete.

    • Michael Walker says:

      This recipe is in the French tradition and developed several hundred years ago no Emeril the recipe is fairly basic the reason for the veal bones and the beef bones you give you two layers of different types of marrow I like to cook mine with the knuckles you can see both recipes work off the beef stock reduced down with a few more spices for the Espanol and then again demi glace espanol is used as a base for Soups and demi glace used for sauces that’s how I use it but the notion that this recipe is a rehash Emeril Lagasse recipe you should probably read the origins of the sauces in fact the rest of the four mother sauces also these recipes have been being married for so long people have been making the sauces for so long they tend to forget why the original sauce was to made exacting standards right down to weight.

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