Veal Stock and Demi-Glace

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Demi-glace acquired a bad image when Escoffier-style cooking was replaced by nouvelle cuisine. In the hands of poor cooks it had become a byword for all the flour-heavy, all-purpose brown sauces used to coat chops and steaks. The word jus replaced it, implying that no flour is used. Really gelatinous veal bones may be able to thicken stock sufficiently with no flour at all, but in my experience two or three tablespoons of flour, cooked out thoroughly in the liquid, will help the texture quite a bit.

Veal stock and demi-glace are time consuming and not worth making in small quantities. Demi-glace is made over three days, although there is very little work involved, and the stock requires occasional rather than constant attention as it reduces.

Ingredients

For the Stock

  • Makes 3 litres (5 pints/12½ cups)
  • 3 kg (6 lb 11 oz) veal bones
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) onions, roughly chopped
  • 300g (10½ oz) celery roughly chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) leeks, roughly chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) carrots, roughly chopped

For the Demi-Glace

  • Makes 2 litres ( pints/ cups)
  • 3 litres (5 pints/12½ cups) veal stock (above)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200g (7 oz) onions, roughly chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) carrots, roughly chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) leeks, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) shin of beef, diced
  • 3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • ½ bottle red wine

Method

To make the stock, roast the bones at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for around 30 minutes or until browned.

Transfer the bones to a large stock pot and cover with 5 litres ( pints/ quarts) of cold water. Bring the pot to the boil, skim off any foam, then add the chopped vegetables. Simmer for 8 hours, topping up the water levels and skimming as necessary. Strain into a bucket or similar-sized container.

To make the demi-glace, bring the prepared veal stock to the boil, skim then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry one-third of the chopped vegetables and garlic until they start to colour. Add one-third of the diced shin and continue to fry, at a high heat, until this too browns.

Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour and continue to cook for a few minutes before adding 1 tablespoon of tomato passata and one-third of the red wine. Stir until the liquid is smooth.

Add the contents of the frying pan to the simmering stock. Repeat the process twice with the remaining ingredients.

Simmer for 4 hours, topping up the liquid level occasionally with cold water and skimming away any foam or grease that rises to the surface. Strain into a bucket or other large container. Leave to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

Next day, remove any fat from the surface, transfer the mixture to a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for a further 2 hours. As the liquid level reduces, add a little cold water and skim off any grease that rises to the surface. It is then ready to use.

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