Tuesday, May 24, 2016

“Cheater” Demi Glace – Because Chicken + Beef = Veal

I received a lot of email after publishing our classic demi-glace video, but not the kind I was expecting. Instead of being showered with praise for finally granting this popular food wish, I was being chastised for posting a recipe that required veal bones.

This seemed a little unfair, since veal bones are sort of a key ingredient when making what’s basically a reduced veal stock. However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I sometimes forget that people don’t live in restaurants, where things like veal knuckles are as ubiquitous as kale.

For your average home cook, veal bones can be expensive, and tricky to find. Plus, they come from baby cows, which many people are against harming. Nope, using adorable young calves is just not an option, although using the bones from ugly, fully-grown chickens is apparently fine.  

Anyway, possible hypocrisy aside, this alternative method worked amazingly well, and above and beyond the almost identical look and feel, the flavor was surprisingly close. This didn’t taste like chicken, or like beef, but was somewhere in the middle, which is basically how I’d describe the taste of veal. I really hope you give this cheaper, easier, and possibly more ethical version a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 2 quarts of “Cheater” Demi Glace:
5 pounds whole chicken wings
2 pounds beef shanks (about three 1-inch thick slices)
2 onions, chopped (including skins)
2 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 quarts cold water
bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

29 comments:

stine said...

Nice you made an alternative. BUT people have to understand that a classic dish is like it is and should not just be changed, that's why it's a classic. And that nose to tail eating is waaaaaay better than just eating the finer cuts, if you did not use the bones at all it would be worse. But that's the same with all creatures and not just veal.

Manoel Melo said...

how long can i keep the sauce in my fridge or can i freeze it?

Ettore Namias said...

Huh, never would have thought. Maybe for a rainy weekend😃

Greg Miranda said...

Ah, bingo - Thanks Chef John! No more stink eye from the butcher when I ask about veal bones (Now? Now? How about now?)

allenm said...

Is there some reason to NOT use a slow cooker for the "simmer gently for 12 to 14 hours" step?

Felipe Rosa said...

I don't care about the issue on eating baby animals...if it had a mother, I will eat it.
All joking aside, I cannot find veal joints anywhere. So, I guess I will try this. Another weekend project thanks to Chef John. Nice to see you back Chef. I hope all is well.

Bryson Miner said...

Any tips for longevity? Can this be frozen and used periodically? If so how long will it last. Thanks!

Laurie Cammarata said...

Chef John
This looks delicious! I can imagine lots of ways to use it! Can I freeze it in smaller portions for later use? Thanks so much. It's great to see you back. Good thoughts and wishes for you and your family.
Laurie

Roberto said...

I don't mind killing baby cows, but "three beef shanks"?
To me that means osso buco. If you turn the chicken wings into stock, this recipe is nearly all you need for osso buco. A little thyme, a bay leaf, a splash of wine, some lemon zest and you're there.

Plus, if you really need a sauce for another purpose, simply reduce the left overs. Yummy.

Michael Cozine said...

When I make chicken stock, I normally retain the 'schmaltz' after cooling my stock in the fridge overnight; it's a great alternative to oil when sautéing my veggies or cooking chicken/egg dishes. I'm hesitant to do the same here because of the beef shanks. Any recommendations?

Joe Eoj said...

mmmmmm, chicken + veal really does = veal. It also = chicken + veal.

Peggy Mallon said...

Chef John, can you tell us what size roasting pan you used? Is it the one with flared sides?

Tim Bostelle said...

I would like to point out that the chickens we eat are typically only 6 weeks old. If you've ever raised chickens (I have three) then you know that 6 weeks is not an adult chicken. It's still a pullet.

I'm not a PETA person or vegan or anything like that. I'm just saying that veal production is no better or worse than most of the farmed animals that we eat every day.

Anyway, thanks for the more accessible recipe, chef.

arwiv said...

I would use this amount of demi-glace in about two months tops and im sure it would freeze for that long.

Kennapop3 said...

Fine, My food wish is your recipe and plan for "Osso Busco"

Bone Saw said...

@Allenm: you can read here about why a slowcooker generally doesn't give as good results as the classic stovetop method when it comes to stock: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/01/ask-the-food-lab-can-i-make-stock-in-a-pressure-cooker-slow-cooker.html

tl;dr: "(...)the batch of broth made in the slow cooker had a less body and flavor than that made on the stovetop because its temperature is a little too low to convert collagen or extract flavorful compounds effectively. Perhaps given a much longer cook time, it would have eventually acquired the right level of body, but most likely, that flavor would never improve."

Some people will swear by using their slowcooker for it, but I personally disagree.

Kennapop3 said...

My food wish.....Osso Buco. Which might be the best use of veal I know. Well it is my favorite Italian one anyway. I also love all things German as well. Beef prices are high so even those calves my dairy farmer neighbor sells are expensive

Scion said...

Veal bones are not a problem - you just have to man-up and lead that calf into the woods for the 'big bang.' If it's any consolation, cow, you were delish.

Chef John said...

For those asking, the way to store is in the freezer! Break into smaller portion, and freeze indefinitely. Not sure how long it last in fridge, because no reason to store it there.

Locomotive_breath said...

Hi Chef John

Any recommendations on how I can save my wife from Hindu hell by swapping out the beef with something else? Lamb? Goat? Otherwise, a terrific recipe.

Thank you.

Shantanu.

Kay Rohde said...

At the risk of sounding like Sarah Palin introducing Donald Trump (too gushy) I want to thank you so much for your videos and blog site. I am a new viewer and my husband and I do *enjoy* your well presented video recipes but mostly your wit sprinkled liberally in the perfect amount! Well done!

Will Frazier said...

Chef John, just curious if you've had the opportunity to taste this version of your stock side by side against your recipe for the more classic veal stock? I live in DC, so I have access to veal bones, but I imagine it'd still be cheaper for me to make this version. Anyway, just curious about how it stacks up to the classic recipe...

Jason Smith said...

Message to Stine:

I Think I LOVE YOU

:''))

Techman said...

6 pounds of wings? I have better things to do with that many wings than to boil them down for a sauce. :) Especially with the cost of wings here in Montreal these days. That would set me back about 30 bucks! And then add the cost of the shanks to that and this gets real expensive, real fast. Much easier and cheaper just to visit my local butcher and pick up some veal bones for much less and do it properly.

Kris Whiteleather said...

I sought your site out because of this recipe on my Roku box.

Purists will hate your cheater version, but it brings flavor and texture to a sauce like it is supposed to.

Thanks for developing, testing and publishing this version.

Coupling it with the Steak Diana video was perfect.

Dorian DemiGlace said...

Chef John,

You are the professor of pudding, the surgeon of sauce and definitely the doctor of demi glacé. You fixed my veal problem (although I WILL keep searching). I made a beef joint substitute Demi glacé last year and although the slapped slapper test was positive, I felt it was too beefy (I still received many complements for my sauces in the last 6 months). I just run out of my last cube and came back to your site to re-unite with the recipe. Only to find the cheaters version....whooooh hoooh! So I cheated a little bit more and used chicken necks and beef spine, I figure it was cheap and would have to have the soft connective tissue required.
Any how cutting to the chase and having just licked the pot clean, I feel we are on to something. I think it is best cheaters Demi glacé ever made or Maybe the Shiraz made me say that.

I'll tell you how the slapper slapper went tomorrow.

And thank you I really did enjoy that recipe

mike angel said...

I think Dorian DemiGlace is on to something. Chicken wings are pricey these days, second only to chicken breasts..thanks Hooters...

Dorian DemiGlace said...

Hi again, slapper slapper is great, I didn't think I would have enough connecting tissue with the necks and the back. Curiously I didnt get any scum or fat once the demi set? And I never removed any during the cooking process, so I wonder if it set with the fat emulsified into the mixture. Does anyone have an explanation? I hope to give Steak Pauline a run next week!


Thanks again Chef John

Dorian DemiGlace said...

I just need to back track a little here, I may have been a little enthusiastic, I mean what do you expect after such a long journey and little or no experience. When I said I didn't have any fat, I actually had nearly all fat. Instead of %10 fat on top that I have for the beef Demi Glacé, I had nearly %90 fat on top for the chicken neck and beef spine Demi. won't forget that lesson in a hurry!