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Culinary Central

How to Make a Demi-Glace

May 8, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Le Cordon Bleu 0 Comments

How to Make a Demi-Glace

In his classic book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain says this about demi-glace: “Freeze this stuff in an ice-cube tray, pop out a cube or two as needed, and your are in business – you can rule the world.” With praise like that from culinary institute graduate and resident bad boy of the culinary world, demi-glace must be some powerful stuff. Take our word for it; it is. But what is it?

At its simplest, demi-glace is a pan sauce that is served over chops and steaks, usually beef, veal, and lamb. While there are many ways to make a demi-glace, the easiest way is to take beef or veal stock and add red wine, shallots, your favorite fresh herbs, and a few peppercorns. Reduce the mixture until it coats the back of a spoon and strain. That’s demi-glace.

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Recipe for a Simple Demi-Glace

The traditional recipe for demi-glace, as defined by the legendary Auguste Escoffier himself, consists of equal parts brown stock and sauce Espagnole and a bouquet garni. Because of the considerable effort necessary to create a traditional the espangnole, we have included a quicker pan sauce version of demi-glace that you might find at a quality steak house. While most culinary programs will teach students to make sauce Espangnole, our short cut sauce will serve the needs of even the finest of steaks.


  • 2 cups beef or veal stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup of red wine – a medium quality burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • If you’ve pan seared a cut of beef, prepare this recipe in that pan with excess fat drained. A clean pan will also work if you’ve cooked the meat some other way
  • Place all ingredients except for butter in large sauté pan
  • Cook at a medium simmer until the mixture reduces almost by half. Test the sauces thickness by placing the back of spoon into the sauce. If the sauce coats the spoon evenly, it’s done
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the butter until completely melted
  • Serve immediately

If you’re worried about calories or serving dairy, the finishing butter can be skipped. The sauce will still have plenty of richness and flavor.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu. Le Cordon Bleu offers culinary, pâtisserie and baking, and hospitality and restaurant management training programs across the United States. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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