This veggie demi-glace sauce will enhance your dishes. This brown sauce, slightly thicker than water, is incredibly tasty. And it takes a third or a quarter of the time of the traditional recipe. Well preserved, it will last for months. As long as you don’t use it lavishly.
Use any fresh vegetables or leftover vegetables in your fridge. Make sure you merely incorporate ingredients representing the five basic tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, spicy). Of course, add the sixth flavor—umami—for a rich and meaty taste without the need to add meat.
A Meaty Flavor Full of Passion
Usually, traditional demi-glace sauce can take 6 to 8 hours to make. This only takes about two.
I broke my promise to share quick meals here. But this sauce is worth it when you see the many things you can dress it with it. I promise you this: it’s straightforward to do. It is the cooking time that is long. Not the prep.
Why does it take a third or a quarter of the time?
The mere fact that you don’t incorporate bones and cartilage considerably reduces your cooking time. Besides, you won’t have to remove the solid fat layer that consequently forms on the surface.
In any case, it’s not just the meat that gives the taste. You just have to choose ingredients that contain what is called umami.
Umami is the taste resulting from the amino acid L-glutamate and other things with names long enough and so complicated that they’ll discourage your tongue from moving. And they’re mostly found in meat.
It’s the pleasant taste of “broth” or “meat” with a lasting sensation, appetizing, and covering the whole tongue. It’s the round, comforting, and invigorating taste.
Moreover, this sauce includes an ingredient that gives almost the same effect to evoke the umami of meat: a rich flavor with body. Which one? The shiitake mushroom.
The shiitake mushroom has a rich, buttery, and earthy flavor quite different from that of other varieties of mushroom in its raw form. In its cooked form, it is steamy, woody, and meaty.
That’s why this demi-glace sauce is so cheerfully complex. Tasty, you know.
And you will be amazed by inhaling its scent, which perfumes all your kitchen.
What is Demi-Glace?
In classic cuisine, demi-glace is a reduced sauce. It’s made from brown stock, usually veal bone and sometimes beef or poultry carcasses and vegetables (celery, onions or leeks, carrot, etc. tomato paste). Thus, it derives its gelatinous texture from the marrow of the bones used in the brown background. And it derives its color from the caramelization of meats and bones before wetting. Sometimes tomatoes and herbs (bay leaf, thyme, parsley, pepper) are added.
Demi-glace is the base for many sauces.
Depending on the level of reduction, it has different names. When its reduction level is less, it’s called Spanish sauce. And when its reduction level is very high, it’s called meat ice cream, hence its name demi-glace.
In classic French gastronomy, demi-glace is considered the queen of sauces. And in vegetarian gastronomy, she will gladly keep her crown 👑.
What Is the Difference between Stock, Broth, and Consommé?
Here is a comparison table inspired by my last recipe.
|Types||In classic (traditional) cuisine||In plant-based cuisine|
|Stock (Fond in French)||Composed of animal bones, vegetables, and herbs, stock is a classic preparation that serves as the base for many French sauces, such as veloutés, Spanish sauce, and demi-glace. |
There are two types of stocks: white veal or poultry stocks (more golden than white) and brown veal or beef stocks.
|To bring a depth of taste—thus, umami—we will put mushrooms and optionally, kombu seaweed.|
Like making a brown stock, roast the vegetables in the oven before adding them to water.
|Broth (Bouillon)||Broth is prepared almost the same way as a white stock except that it cooks for half the time (2 to 3 hours). It’s not necessary to add bones to the broth. On the other hand, it will have less body than stock.||Here, we will simply simmer vegetables in water.|
|Consommé||Consommé is a base or broth that has been made perfectly clear by adding a mixture of egg whites, minced meat (veal, beef, or poultry), and vegetables. This is called: clarifying.|
The liquid is brought to a boil very gradually. You let it simmer gently so that the proteins in the meat and the egg whites coagulate. The proteins then capture all the small particles in suspension. This is how the stock or the broth becomes perfectly translucent.
The mixture of meat and egg eventually forms a solid layer on the surface of the liquid. Once filtered, the consommé is served as it is to enhance its taste and clearness.
|Theoretically, we would clarify the plant-based fond by adding aquafaba (chickpea soaking liquid).|
This would cloud the liquid instead of the eggs while keeping it crystal clear.
You might not need to filter it depending on whether the solid layer would form on top or not.
What Exactly Do You Put in a Demi-Glace?
In short, you can make a crazy veggie demi-glace with any vegetables. The most important thing is to balance the flavors: you have to add ingredients that emanate from sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent, and tasty vegetables (which give umami). I have broken down the ingredients for this recipe below so that you understand the main points. Sometimes a vegetable can have a primary taste and a secondary taste.
- Carrots – They add a nice sweet touch. For a more earthy taste, do not peel the carrots.
- Beets – These red jewels add an earthy sweet taste and a lovely dark color. To have more tannins, wash them thoroughly and don’t peel them.
- Celery – This is natural salt.
- Celery root – Optional ingredient. It brings even more natural salt and an earthy note.
- Kombu – In strips, it serves a double function: it brings the salty taste simultaneously as the umami.
- Usually, aromatics (bay leaf, thyme, parsley) are added. You can splurge on other bitter vegetables, such as eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, or something dark, green, and leafy. Moreover, when these vegetables are roasted, they add a pleasant bitter note.
- Tomatoes or tomato paste – Tomatoes also give umami. Depending on them, they add a little citric acid and/or a sweet taste to the final sauce. The tomato paste offers a more concentrated flavor.
Pungent (considered a taste)
- Red onions – They offer the pungency and, when finely chopped, a sweet note to the mixture. They also bring a spicy taste. Red onions are tastier than yolks.
- Garlic – It is a cornerstone of many sauces. Garlic adds its own salt and tangy flavor.
- Fresh shiitake mushrooms – Definitely the essential ingredient. They reinforce the umami in the final sauce and give it a perfect round, earthy and meaty taste. Dehydrated ones taste much more pronounced than fresh ones, so if you use those, cut the amount in half. Portobello mushrooms or other tasty mushrooms will do the trick too.
How to Get a Very Sticky and Gelatinous Consistency
To do this, thickening agents are used so that the sauce can stick well to the ingredients to season.
It could be guar gum, xanthan gum, or other thickening powders. As long as it’s something that thickens sauces and soups. Or, just add unbleached all-purpose flour. Finally, the recipe calls for pectin to evoke the gelatinous texture.
As mentioned earlier, demi-glace is a reduced sauce, made from a brown stock. This gives it its body thanks to the extraction of collagen from bones and cartilages. In other words, the collagen turns into gelatin, which provides the stock with its gelatinous consistency. Gelatin is also the factor that sets stock in a jelly consistency once cooled.
Thus, in the plant-based version, bones and cartilages are replaced with pectin.
This step is possibly optional. But hey, why not let the sauce keep her highness status? 👑
How to Make Demi-Glace Step by Step
You take a lot of vegetables, cut them into strips, and roast them in the oven until they brown. Then you produce the vegetable broth. You add water, let it simmer, filter the liquid and thicken it.
1 / Finely cut the vegetables.
2 / Stir them well, add tomato paste and roast the vegetables on a baking sheet.
3 / Add water and roast again.
4 / Meanwhile, mix the thickening products.
5 / Filter the liquid in a saucepan and reduce to half the volume.
6 / Add the thickening mixture to the demi-glace.
My Top 6 Tips for Making an Ultra-Tasty Demi-Glace
1. Cut the vegetables very thinly
This will allow you to have a sweeter sauce. The mandolin is your best tool for that, but that doesn’t stop you from doing it by hand.
Warning: Unless you stubbornly want to go back to the traditional recipe for thickening your sauce with an inanimate component of a living being, use the mandolin’s hand protector. This will prevent you from slicing your thumb into strips.
2. Soften the taste of the tomato paste
If time permits, warm the tomato paste a little to reduce its acidity. For example, you can also add a little baking soda (ratio: 1 cup of tomato paste to a quarter of a cup baking soda).
3. Simmer gently, uncovered
To get a good veggie demi-glace, use the same tips for preparing a meat stock: simmer gently.
But beware! Avoid letting it boil. Why? Apparently, the agitation caused by the boiling prevents the particles from rising to the surface.
4. Filter with a fine mesh
I used my nut milk filter bag to express the liquid to the maximum. (Let the mixture cool so as not to cook your hands on the bag). If you don’t have this accessory, a fine-mesh sieve will do.
5. Blend the preparation before filtering it.
This will allow you to get maximum flavor. But if you’re like me and don’t like messing up too many cookware, you can definitely skip this step. (I admit, I definitely skipped this step).
6. Mix your thickeners really well
You have two options: stir in the thickening powder and pectin separately or mix it with the pectin until you meticulously break up the lumps.
No lumps should get into the thick sauce. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself crushing them with the back of your spoon to make them disappear forever, like when you untwist the tangled threads of a yarn ball.
What to Do with the Leftover Vegetables?
Here are some solutions to avoid waste:
If you have a dehydrator, dehydrate the vegetables for 12-16 hrs, or until they’re dry, reduce them to a powder in a blender to make a powdered broth. If you don’t have this appliance, bake them in a 100 ° F (38 ° C) oven with the door open until they’re dry.
Turn it into a purée
Blend them with a little water. Put one part in the freezer and keep the other in the fridge to enhance your dishes’ flavor.
Feed the earth
Finally, put them in the compost for your garden or the city.
Other Creative Variations
For a less pronounced demi-glace, try other types of mushrooms, such as white mushrooms, coffee, or portobello.
Tomato paste works well here to provide a concentration of tomato flavor. It can also act as a thickener after the liquid has been filtered. However, it will change the taste (more acid and more umami). It can be replaced by Passata.
For even more umami, add a little tamari or nutritional yeast.
What to Combine Demi-Glace with?
As mentioned earlier, demi-glace is excellent for adding depth of flavor to your preparations. Incorporate it into the following dishes:
- Pasta, all kinds;
- Risotto, rice or barley;
- Soups and stews;
- Stir-fried vegetables;
- Potatoes, baked or mashed;
- Stir-fried tofu and tempeh.
It’s very versatile, so experiment!
However, keep this in mind: demi-glace will enhance the flavor of a finished dish when incorporated at the end of cooking. If it is intensely tasty, before adding the demi-glace, dilute it with a few teaspoons of hot water until it reaches dense cream consistency. This will make its integration more straightforward and faster.
Make this Veggie Demi-Glace Now
A little know-how is all it takes to make a homemade demi-glace.
It’s enough to make commercial preparations jealous, with their unwelcoming additives.
There’s nothing colorful about the finished product, but you get a creamy, light sauce that’s ready to stick on any dish you want to enhance the flavor.
You’ll see, your simple dishes will turn into magical meals with the addition of demi-glace.
Now that the demi-glace has no secrets for you, you’re ready to make your homemade versions!
Veggie Demi-Glace Recipe
Adapted from the website Chef Steps.
Meaty Veggie Demi-Glace
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 small cauliflower or half of a large cauliflower (Optional)
- ½ medium celery root (Optional)
- 1 beet (Optional)
- 1 whole broccoli
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 onions or leeks
- 8 fresh shiitake mushroom (Notes)
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 bulb garlic
- ¼ cup white wine (Optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (Notes)
- 8 strips kombu (Optional)
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 3 L water (12 cups)
- 2 teaspoons guar or xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons pectin (Notes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, finely chop or grate the vegetables and transfer them to a deep baking sheet.
- Add the tomato paste and, if desired, the kombu. Stir to combine.
- Toss the vegetables with oil to prevent them from sticking. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 45 minutes. Check them every 20 minutes or so, stirring and turning as needed to keep the edges from burning.
- Add water to the vegetables and return to the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
- While baking, combine the thickening ingredients in a small bowl. Mashing with a fork until completely incorporated, breaking up any lumps.
- Filter the broth into a saucepan. Optionally, scrape and peel off the remaining vegetable pieces on the baking sheet with the wine, then filter carefully into an empty corner of the sieve to not lose the wine in the pile of vegetables. (A thin layer may form at the surface when let to cool for a few minutes.)
- Over medium heat, reduce broth to about half of its original volume. Remove from heat.
- Whisk the dry ingredients in the demi-glace until they are completely incorporated.
- Serve with your favorite dishes.
- Vegetables: you can add as many vegetables as you want. Ones that wilt easily will do well. Make sure there are saltier than sweet veggies; otherwise, the sauce may be syrupy and sickening.
- Mushrooms: shiitake really add flavor. Dehydrated mushrooms taste much more pronounced than fresh ones, so if you use those, halve the amount and soak them in water to rehydrate them. If you don’t like this kind of mushroom, replace them with white or coffee mushrooms or four portobello mushrooms.
- Tomato paste works well here to provide a concentrated tomato flavor. It can also act as a thickener after the liquid has been filtered. However, it will change the taste (more acid and more umami). It can also be replaced by Passata. Sauté the tomato paste to soften its taste.
- Salt: There is little salt in this recipe, but add some if you don’t include enough salty ingredients like celery, celeriac, or kombu.
- Thickeners: If you rarely think of using guar gum or xanthan gum, you can opt for cornstarch or unbleached all-purpose flour instead (much cheaper, too). 6. This vegetable demi-glace will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Keep 1 cup in the fridge and freeze the rest in an ice cream bin to make cubes.
If you try this recipe, I want to know! Leave me a comment below or share it on Instagram. Tag @biting.into.life with the hashtag #bitingintolife
I’m on a mission to help you eat nutrient-dense, easy, and mouth-watering plant-based meals so you can feel energized, well-equipped, and confident to eat and cook better.