Glace de Viande (Homemade Beef Essence)

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes: about

    2 cups

Appears in

I am grateful to Jacques Pépin’s La Technique for introducing me to this indispensable jewel of the kitchen. It is called glace, because the broth is so concentrated it becomes a glaze. Glace could well be the most important recipe in this book because it will enhance so many things you make without adding either salt or fat, enabling you to control the amount and type of each of these ingredients you desire.

I make this enrichment stock every two years. In fact, whenever there are meat drippings, I chill them to harden and remove the fat and then freeze them for future use. They are usually salty, though, whereas with glace there is no salt at all.

I like to make a large amount as the work is about the same but if you don’t have a large enough stock pot, make half the recipe. My enormous hammered copper stockpot, which I brought at the Bridge Kitchenware shop years ago, is my most treasured piece of kitchen equipment. I polish it after I make the stock, and keep it in the living room where I can watch it as the setting sun turns it the most amazing colors. Over the months, the pinkness of newly shined copper gradually oxidizes to a burnished glow. When it dulls, it’s a sure sign that it’s time to make stock again.

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room temperature volume ounces/pounds grams/kilograms
chicken bones, veal bones and beef bones (third each), cut into 2-inch pieces 10 pounds 4 kilogram, 536 grams
6 carrots, scrubbed, and cut into 1-inch chunks 1 pound 454 grams
3 large onions, unpeeled, cut into eighths pounds 680 grams
water, divided 12 quarts
3 large ripe tomatoes, quartered, seeded and coarsely chopped pounds 680 grams
1 large leek, roots removed, cut in half and thoroughly washed 8 ounces 227 grams
3 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces 7 ounces 100 grams
1 small bunch parsley, preferably flat-leafed, tied with string 2 ounces 56 grams
2 bay leaves
dried thyme 1 teaspoon
peppercorns ½ teaspoon
KEEPS: If refrigerated in an open container, the stock cubes will dry out and harden, losing almost half their weight, and these will keep indefinitely but take longer to reconstitute. (This does not work in a high- humidity refrigerator such as a Traulsen.) If stored airtight in the refrigerator they will keep several months; stored in an airtight container in the freezer, they will keep indefinitely.


Place the bones in the roasting pan and brown in a 425°F. oven for 1½ hours, turning the bones once after 45 minutes. Then add the carrots and onions and continue browning for 30 minutes.

With a slotted skimmer or spoon, remove the bones and vegetables to the stockpot. Discard the fat in the roasting pan and set the pan on one or two burners. Add 2 cups of the water and cook over medium heat, scraping to dislodge the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour this liquid along with the browned bits into the stockpot and add the remaining 11½ quarts of water.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Add the remaining vegetables, herbs and spices and simmer for at least 10 hours, adding water as necessary so that the bones and vegetables are always covered by at least 2 inches of water. (It’s fine to let it simmer overnight, partially covered, but be sure the heat is at the lowest setting possible so that it never boils.)

Use a slotted skimmer or spoon to remove the bones, vegetables and other solids to a strainer suspended over a large bowl. Press them to remove as much juice as possible and then discard the bones and vegetables. Pour all the sauce through the strainer. You will need several large bowls (or a second large stockpot).

Wash the stockpot and return the strained stock to it. Over high heat, reduce the stock to 3 quarts, about 2½ hours.*

*At this point, if you wish, make the Boeuf à la Ficelle before proceeding to the next step. Be sure to skim off as much of the fat as possible from the surface first.

Pour the stock into a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature, uncovered. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The fat will congeal on the top; remove and discard it.

Suspend the fine strainer over a 4-quart or larger pot and line it with dampened cheesecloth. Heat the stock and pour it through the strainer into the pot. Over high heat, reduce the stock to 6 cups, stirring occasionally with a greased wooden spoon, 1½ to 2 hours.

Transfer the stock to the 2-quart saucepan or high-sided skillet. Scrape any stock clinging to the stirring spoon into the stock. Reduce the sauce over very low heat, to prevent burning, to about 2 cups, about 1 hour. The bubbling surface will be lighter in color but should not be skimmed. The stock will become a very dark and syrupy essence. Toward the very end of the cooking, large sticky bubbles will form on the surface and break. Remove from the heat.

Pour the concentrated stock (glace) into the oiled bread pan, scraping out as much of the stock as possible. Set the saucepan aside. Cool the glace to room temperature, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours until firmly set.

Meanwhile, add 2 cups of water to the saucepan and heat, stirring constantly to dissolve any remaining beef essence. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup. Cool and refrigerate it. Use this stock within 3 days.

Run a small metal spatula or thin knife between the sides of the bread pan and the glace and unmold it onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut it into 32 cubes. (Cut it the short way into eighths, then cut it the long way into fourths.)

Pressure Cooker Method

When Carl Sontheimer started to market the Cuisinarts pressure cooker, he advised me to buy the largest model available because it was useful for making stock. A -quart pressure cooker makes it possible to do the initial 10-hour cooking of the bones and vegetables in just 1 hour. In a pressure cooker with a -quart liquid capacity you can do half the recipe (half the bones, vegetables, herbs and pepper), using 3 quarts of water; then use a large skimmer to remove the bones and debris and add the remaining half recipe to the same broth. It takes about 30 minutes to bring it up to pressure when the water is cold and about 30 minutes for the pressure to go down. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your pressure cooker. Remove the bones and debris and strain the stock. You will have about 4 quarts. Refrigerate it and proceed as above.