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Two Routes to Super-Rich Sauce

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2011

Traditional French demi-glace relies on veal bones for its flavor and takes a full day to prepare. Our modern approach substitutes ground beef and gelatin and dramatically shortcuts the process.

SLOW ROUTE
Cooking StepTime
Roast veal bones and large chunks of vegetables big enough to hold their shape during the long simmering.

1 hour
Simmer bones and vegetables in stock pot with water and wine until flavor is extracted and collagen from bones turns into unctuous, sauce-thickening gelatin.

6 hours
Reduce strained stock slowly until glossy and concentrated.

2 hours
STREAMLINED
Brown ground beef and finely chopped aromatics (which release -flavor quickly) with glutamate-rich tomato paste and mushrooms.

20 minutes
Simmer this potent flavor base in Dutch oven with wine and broth.

20 minutes
Reduce strained stock, adding powdered gelatin for silkiness and viscosity.

5 minutes

SLOW ROUTE9 hours

STREAMLINED45 minutes