I’ve discovered a brilliant shortcut to making your soups, stews, gravies, and sauces their most delicious ever.
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Short Ribs
Credit: Getty / bhofack2

When you see the words "demi-glace" in a recipe, does your pulse rise, sweat come to your palms, and you think, "I don't do demi-glace" and scroll to the next recipe? Think again! I'm here to say that not only is demi-glace a workhorse for soups, stews, sauces, and gravies, it's also a secret ingredient for lots of dishes. And with my approach here, it's easy! Here's what you need to know to make demi-glace whenever you need—or want—it. 

What is demi-glace?

Demi-glace is just a fancy way to say concentrated meat stock. This thick, sticky, gelatinous reduction is packed with flavor, and a great thing to have on hand for any cook. From being able to add water to make wonderful stocks and broths for use in soups and stews, to adding as-is to sauces or gravies, demi-glace's deep rich flavor and intense umami can make all the difference in a lot of dishes. 

Why demi-glace is so amazing 

Demi-glace gives you all the flavor of rich meat stocks in a concentrated format, which makes it easier to store and more flexible in terms of usage. If you have limited freezer space, demi-glace takes up only a quarter of the space as traditional stock. It also lasts a while in the fridge, so you can keep small amounts on hand for daily use. You can add a dollop to the cooking water for rice or grains to add great flavor, or swirl some into pan drippings to intensify flavor in gravy or pan sauces. And if you need a small amount of stock or broth, you can just add water to make as much or little as you need.

How to make demi-glace in half the time most recipes require

The problem with homemade demi-glace is time. It can take well over 8 hours to roast the ingredients and make the base stock before beginning your reduction process. Very few of us have time for that. But that doesn't mean we should give up on having homemade demi-glace in our arsenal. There is a simple shortcut that makes all the difference: Use store-bought stock. This shortcut takes a huge chunk out of the cooking equation and gets you straight to the reduction process. Use an unsalted stock, as any salt will intensify too much in the process and be sure it is a stock that you like the flavor of to begin with. 

Quick and easy demi-glace

2 quarts store-bought unsalted beef or chicken stock

1 tablespoon neutral oil (like canola)

One carrot, peeled and chopped

One rib of celery, chopped

½ onion, chopped

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

1 package powdered gelatin, sprinkled over ¼ cup water and left to hydrate

In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium high heat, add the oil and heat to shimmering. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often, until you get good caramelization. Add the stock and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the bloomed gelatin. Reduce, being sure it does not boil over, until you have about 2 cups of liquid. Strain out the solids and let cool to room temperature. Transfer into either ¼ or ½ cup containers and freeze. 

Delicious recipes to try with demi-glace 

Here are some of my favorite recipes to get you started with your homemade demi-glace!