The Art of Demi Glace

Nothing says “fall” like fresh, crisp apples picked right off the tree, the scent of cinnamon permeating homes and businesses excited about the season, and of course, pumpkin everything!  As we head into the most colorful months of the year, our team at John Harvard’s has conjured up a dish that we think each and every one of you will want to come in and try … maybe more than once!  It is our cinnamon apple demi glace over pork tenderloin served with pumpkin gnocchi.
 
Our demi glace is house made with tomato roasted veal bones, fresh herbs, red wine, and vegetables.  Although it may take us hours to make (you can’t rush perfection), demi glace can easily be created at home – even by the novice cook.  Veal bones are the key to a good demi, which you can purchase from your local supermarket or butcher.
 
LET’S MASTER THE ART OF DEMI GLACE
 
First, thoroughly wash veal bones and blanch them in boiling water.  (This will help remove impurities, and the end sauce will ultimately contain less fat and be much more appealing to the palate.)   Coat the bones with tomato paste, then roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes; set aside. 
 
Next, in a large stockpot (the bigger the better), add onions, carrots, and celery, and let cook on medium heat until they start to tenderize.  Make sure the vegetables are washed, peeled, and cut into a uniform size - this will help them cook evenly. 
 
Add bones to the vegetables, along with fresh herbs and whole peppercorns; let cook for 5-10 minutes.  Then add more tomato paste, stir, and cook for yet another 5-10 minutes.  (Be sure to keep everything moving, and stay attentive so that none of the ingredients burn!)  Deglaze with your favorite red wine and enough water to cover all the ingredients.  (We recommend using cold water and believe this to create the best demi glace.) 
 
At this point, I like to add whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, which puts off a nice, pleasing aroma.  Now turn the heat down to barely a simmer and let cook for 4-8 hours.  Stir often so that nothing burns on the bottom. 
 
You’re sure to fall in love with the wonderful smell that is now consuming your home … demi glace creation at its finest!  Note: You may have to add water to your stockpot so as not to let the liquid reduce too far.  After hours of waiting, sweating, and keeping a close eye on your sauce, it’s time to finish the demi glace.  Strain the sauce, keeping the liquid.  Discard the bones and vegetables.  (At John Harvard’s we save the bones and vegetables and create a “second press” known as “remi”.) 
 
There are a few tricks you can use to speed up the process of your demi glace at home without compromising the end result.  First, you can add beef or veal base to the stockpot while it cooks, which will allow you to create a nice brown sauce and save you some hours of cooking time.  Another method is to thicken your sauce with cornstarch after you strain it. 
 
I hope you enjoy making demi glace in the comfort of your own kitchen and find a lot of wonderful applications for it.  Upon completion, consumption, and clean-up of your own recipe, please come visit me, Chef Rory Mosher at John Harvard’s at Holiday Valley.  I’d love to hear about your creations at home, and I look forward to your feedback after dining on our September dish.
 
BEER PAIRING
Southern Tier’s Pumking Imperial Ale
 
Conversations about pumpkin ales invariably include Southern Tier Brewing Company's Pumking. The name suggests exactly what the liquid delivers. Brewed with pureed pumpkin, just two types of malts and two varieties of hops, Pumking is one of the most highly anticipated seasonally released beers. Southern Tier's brewers achieve an amazing feat. They have been able to mimic the taste of a pumpkin pie with this beer, down to the crust. It is best enjoyed paired with roasted foods, or as dessert (beer float?). Nothing quite says "autumn" like sipping on a cold Pumking.
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