Learn how to make a rich, velvety demi-glace sauce with this fool-proof recipe! The shortcut method will not only save a lot of your time, but it also yields an amazing sauce. Use the homemade demi-glace for delicious sauces or to make a popular Japanese beef stew, Hayashi Rice.
Demi-glace is a rich brown sauce in French cuisine that can be used as a sauce itself or as a base for other sauces. In Japan, we use demi-glace sauce for many western-style dishes, and we can find it sold in a can or a premade jar. Since it’s not easy to find premade demi-glace sauce in the U.S., I have decided to make it at home.
Making a demi-glace sauce from scratch can be a daunting process, but I’ve used store-bought beef stock to speed things up in this shortcut recipe.
What is Demi-Glace?
Demi-glace is a rich brown sauce in French cuisine, traditionally made by combining one part brown stock and one part Espagnole sauce (or sometimes called brown sauce) and slowly reducing by half. It is used as a sauce itself or as a base for other sauces. In Japan, we use demi-glace (デミグラスソース) to make popular yoshoku, western-style Japanese dishes, including Hayashi Rice, Beef Stew, Omurice and so on.
How Japanese-Style Demi-Glace Sauce is Made
A basic brown stock is made by roasting a lot of veal and beef bones, which can take hours and hours to simmer and reduce. To make demi-glace, you need to make a lot of brown stock so that you can keep some as it is and then use the remaining stock to make Espagnole sauce. Espagnole sauce is a classic brown sauce, typically made from the brown stock, mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot) and tomato paste, and thickened with roux. Finally, when you combine brown stock and Espagnole sauce, you get demi-glace! Sounds complicated? Check out my so-called “Shortcut” Demi-Glace recipe below.
4 Easy Steps to Make Shortcut Demi-Glace Sauce
Step 1: Use Store-Bought Stock
This shortcut demi-glace sauce uses store-bought beef stock (not sponsored) which cut down on the cooking time immediately. If you have some quality bones on hands and don’t mind spending the time, you can, of course, make your veal or beef stock for a richer and flavorful result. Otherwise, store-bought stock would do the trick.
Step 2: Make Shortcut Espagnole Sauce
To add more flavor to the sauce, I like roasting mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot) in the oven after lightly sauteing them on the stovetop. Then, combine the vegetable mixtures with tomato paste, wine, beef stock, and a bouquet garni (read below) to simmer and reduce. Be patient and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours to reduce the sauce. It’s an inactive period, so you can spend the time on other food preparation.
Step 3: Make Broun Roux
Making brown roux is an important step for the demi-glace sauce. Pay close attention so you won’t burn the roux. Be patient and continue to stir until the roux is brown, almost like a chocolate color. At this stage, the flour needs to be cooked through so the demi-glace sauce won’t taste “floury.”
Step 4: Combine Espagnole Sauce and Brown Roux, and You’ll have Demi-Glace Sauce!
The last step is easy. Just combine the Espagnole sauce and brown roux together. Now your Shortcut Demi-Glace is done, and ready for many different uses. One of my favorites is to use the demi-glace sauce to make Hayashi Rice, or sometimes called Hashed Beef, which is a popular Western-style stew made with tender beef, onions, mushrooms.
Watch How to Make Demi-Glace Sauce
Watch this tutorial to make my so-called Shortcut Demi-Glace Sauce!
What is Bouquet Garni (ブーケガルニ)?
It’s a fancy French word for a bunch of herbs, typically encased in a cheesecloth bag or tied together with string. It’s used for flavoring a stew, soup, or stock. The choice of herbs is up to you. For this recipe, I used the following herbs, but you can choose your own.
- bay leaf
Fresh vs. Dried: Because dried herbs are generally more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs, you will need a lesser amount. The general rule is 3 to 1 or three parts fresh to one part dried (1 Tbsp = 3 tsp).
1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs
Recipes Using Demi Glace
- Hayashi Rice
For the Espagnole Sauce
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion (3 oz, 85 g)
- 1 stalk celery (3.5 oz, 100 g)
- 1 carrot (3 oz, 85 g)
- ½ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 Tbsp red wine
- 8 cups beef stock/broth
For the Bouquet Garni
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 8 peppercorns
For the Brown Roux
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- Gather all the ingredients. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC).
To Make the Shortcut Espagnole Sauce
- Cut ½ onion, 1 stalk celery, and 1 carrot into small chunks.
- In the Dutch oven (or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot), add 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. When the pot is hot, add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot.
- Season with ½ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes.
- Pop in the oven and roast at 425ºF (220ºC) for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bouquet garni. You can use a disposable mesh tea bag (left) or a cheese cloth (right).
- Here I encase 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp dried thyme, 3 sprigs parsley, and 8 peppercorns in the cheesecloth.
- Tie the corners tightly.
- Transfer the pot from the oven to the stove. Add 1 Tbsp tomato paste and mix well.
- Add 4 Tbsp red wine and 8 cups beef stock/broth and mix to combine.
- Add bouquet garni and bring it to boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 1½ hours, until roughly 3 cups of broth remained in the pot. You can skim the foam and scum during reducing. I fill water in a measuring cup with a pout to clean the fine mesh skimmer.
- If you are using this Demi-Glace for Hayashi Rice, you can start cooking rice and marinating beef. About 30 minutes before finishing the reduction process, start making Brown Roux.
To Make the Brown Roux
- In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour).
- With the silicone spatula, combine well. At first, it will turn into a crumble-like texture.
- Then it will turn into foam and liquid. Continue to cook for 12–15 minutes, or until the color turns brown, like chocolate.
- Set aside and wait until the Espagnole sauce is finished.
To Combine the Espagnole Sauce and Brown Roux
- After cooking for 1½ hours, the Espagnole sauce has been reduced. You will need 3 cups of the sauce by straining the vegetables.
- Set the 3 cups aside. You can freeze the rest of the Espagnole sauce for future use.
- When you have the brown roux ready, put the pot back on the stove on low heat. Gradually add the Espagnole sauce to the brown roux and combine well before you add more sauce.
- Once you add all 3 cups, and mix well together, the Demi-Glace is ready to use! Set aside for your recipe.