Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A little thing called demi-glace

If getting shot or telling you what demi-glace was a year ago, I would have been shot. Today, not so much. In the cooking class that my mom and I took in December at Michael Anthony's, I learned the magic of the demi-glace. Tonight I have attempted to make my own, again with the help of Michael Anthony's Cookbook. The original recipe calls for veal and veal bones, but as I found out at the meat counter today, that's just not all that common around here. Maybe these parts of the country just don't like veal. On any other day I would have an epic debate about why I think veal is inhumane and wrong, but you can't fight how good it tastes. I would never buy veal by choice, but for the sake of flavor and this demi-glace, I have done my best to improvise.

The original recipe by Michael Cirafesi of Michael Anthony's calls for the following for Veal Demi-Glace: 

5 pounds of veal bones
1 pound stew meat (beef or veal)
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and halved
3 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
2 unpeeled carrots, quartered
2 stalks celery 
3 ripe tomatoes, halved 
2 quarts red wine (two whole bottles)
2 cups red wine (reserved for later)
2 cups tomato paste
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons salt 
3 gallons water

1/4 grape seed oil
1/4 cup flour

Now, in my world, I WISH I could get the meat I needed. However, I had to improvise with the following: 

2 lbs beef bones (Frozen)
2 lbs pork neck bones 
1.5 lbs pork short ribs (for stew meat) I cut them up into sections between the bone. 

Everything else, amazingly, I had on hand. 

In my roasting pan (See below), my roommate and I roasted the meat in the oven for about 2 hours at 450 degrees. I added a little olive oil on top and then some veal stock I randomly found at the store - probably about half a cup of stock. Then we removed it and put it in a very large stock pot. 

I added all the veggies to the roasting pan, with another 1/2 cup of veal stock. I roasted them about an hour because our oven was being off, but you should roast them until they brown. 

Then remove the vegetables and put them in the pot with the meat. Deglaze the pan (with stuff on the bottom/brown bits) with the 2 quarts of red wine. Use a whisk and scrape all the stuff off the bottom. Then, add to the meat/stock pot. 

Then add the tomato paste, bay leaves, salt and pepper corns. The add enough water to cover all of the ingredients and stir. 

Put over high heat (depending on your stove) and let it reduce to half. This may take longer than you think depending on where you live and your conditions. At first, I left the lid on for about 1/2 hour, then I did some research and took the lid off and it reduced much faster after that. Give it at least an hour to reduce by half. Again, go by what it looks like and give it a taste. Don't burn yourself though, be careful. 

After the mixture has reduced by half, strain it with a medium strainer into another stock pot. Add the reserved 2 cups of wine and bring to a low boil. Skim the top occasionally to remove any grease from the bones. (side bar, the bones and etc. should NOT be in the broth at this point). Put back on the stove and reduce for another 20 minutes or so, to almost half. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

For the Roux: 
Combine grape seed oil and flour and whisk until blended. The put into a pot and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Skim it if you can, then strain through a strainer. Let it cool at room temp and then add to the demi-glace. 

You can freeze it and use it as a base for a variety of sauces. I will post again when I use it for my upcoming dish - also something I learned at the Michael Anthony's cooking class in December! 

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