When I first went to culinary school to get my degree, one of the first things you are taught are sauces. Sauces are the finishing touch to any dish. They make a simple grilled fillet of protein something spectacular and so on and so forth. There are in total, according to Auguste Escoffier’s updates, seven mother sauces: béchamel, espagnole, veloute, allemande, tomato, butter, and emulsified sauces. The first four were established by Antonin Careme.
In this post, I am going to discuss a secondary sauce that falls beneath the espagnole category. This sauce is known as demi-glace, which comes from the French world “glace”. The term “glace” means icing or glaze. This sauce is created from equal portions of a stock and espagnole sauce, which is a brown sauce. Both of these are combined into one sauce pot and reduced to about half of its contents, thus, creating an extremely dark vicious sauce. The traditional stock used is a veal stock, but, now a days, chefs use chicken and beef. I, however, used a vegetable stock.
The concept was taken from Commander’s Palace, which was placed upon a grilled fillet of steak I believe. Commander’s Palace was one of the restaurants that Phillip and I wanted to visit while we were in NOLA; however, we ran out of time! So what I did was create a “Commander Palace” feast at home. On my plate, I had broiled flounder, sautéed green beans and carrots and sweet potato grits. The base coating the plate is a tomato cream while the demi-glace is what you see coating the top of the flounder. The entire platter was simply divine. At least, I know that it was safe and probably more satisfying than anything I would receive from a restaurant.
A demi-glace can be used to garnish any simple dish and make it a little bit more “gourmet”. Try it. It isn’t hard at all especially if you use a bouillon cube to make your stock. Shh! I won’t tell! This sauce can be also made ahead without any issue.
Peppercorn Demi-Glace ¼ cup rice flour 1 ½ tbsp of nondairy margarine 1 cup water 1 small carrot, chopped ½ small onion, chopped 1 celery stalk, chopped
1 bay leaf 1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock ½ tbsp freshly cracked peppercorns
In a small pot, toast the flour until it turns a very dark shade. Add the margarine and let it coat all of the flour. Add ½ of the water a little bit at a time, whisking constantly until all the flour disappears. Set it aside.
Sauté the carrots, onions and celery over moderate heat in a medium sauce pan until golden brown. Add the roux, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Add the remaining water and bring this to a boil. Reduce the head to a bare simmer and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until it appears reduced by half.
Once the mixture is reduced, strain the solids from the liquids into a bowl. Add this back to the pot and add the stock and crushed peppercorns. Again, repeat the process of bringing it to a boil then reducing the heat to a bare simmer. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, it is done. Your result should be about ¼ to 1/3 of a cup of liquid; but, one to two tablespoons is all you need due to its richness.