Time is the main ingredient

Time is the main ingredient

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  1. A pain in the …

    Everyone who is even vaguely interested in cookery should make demi-glace once. The stuff is a pain in the neck to make, but it is very simple and very easy. It just takes forever. Patience is the main ingredient in demi-glace.

    Get bones

    Take some beef bones, or to be truly official, take some veal bones. Getting the bones may prove to be a slight challenge, but certainly any butcher shop, if you can find one, will have a supply for sale. The grocery store should have some as well, but you will have to ask for them. Rarely are the bones out on display. Perhaps skeletal remains put off the customers, but skeletal remains are exactly what you want.

    Prepare bones

    Once you have acquired the bones, preheat your oven to 275 degrees. You want enough bones to fill a pan that would hold a turkey. If you do not have the perfect amount of bones, don’t worry about it. This is not a perfect sort of recipe. In the bottom of this pan you will place some carrots, some celery and some onions. Say, like a pound or so of each. Chop the vegetables roughly before putting them in the pan. Then put the bones on the vegetables and put the whole shootin’ match into the oven.

    Tan your bones

    The idea behind the bone roasting is to add a beautiful brown color to the bones. The bone roasting will take a significant amount of time. A day at least. Maybe a day and a night. Time is irrelevant; the color is what you want. Deep dark brown. Tanned. Amber ale color. Caramel. Resist rushing the browning by cranking up the oven. A hot oven will add a lot of burning risk to the operation. Remember, brown, not black, is the color you seek. Black is bad, and you have all the time in the world to slowly brown the bones at a low temperature in the oven.

    Just add water

    Now, once you have the bones browned, pull the pan from the oven. You must have a pot big enough to hold all the bones. If you do not have a pot that is large enough, you must get one. Once you have the pot, put the browned bones into it along with the vegetables. Now, add some water to the roasting pan. Just enough to cover the bottom with a half inch or so, and then scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and pour the liquid into the pot with the bones. Cover the bones in the pot with water.

    Soak your bones

    Put the pot with the bones, vegetables and water onto the stove and put under it a medium-high fire. Get the water just to the point of boiling and then back off the heat to the point where the water just barely moves through the bones in the pot. You want the most loving, gentle simmer you can produce to bathe the bones in liquid warmth. Keep the bones comfortable in their bath, and they will give up their flavor and color willingly. Remember that patience is everything when it comes to the proper execution of the demi-glace technique.

    Magic extraction

    Allow the water to extract the magic from the bones for, say, a day and a half. Add water to the pot every so often so that all the bones are immersed all the time. Once the correct amount of time has passed – and you are the judge – prepare to strain the liquid. To begin, pull the bones from the pot using tongs or a pair of spoons. Once you feel safe in doing so, pour the liquid through a colander or wire strainer and into a pot that will hold all of it.

    Beef flavored Jell-O

    Now it is okay to turn up the fire. Bring the brown liquid to a boil and allow water to evaporate until about half of the liquid is gone. Once half is gone, turn off the heat and let the demi-glace cool. Skim the fat from the top of the demi-glace. With the fat gone, you may put the demi-glace into the refrigerator to chill. It will set like gelatin as that is what it is: sort of a beef-flavored Jell-O.  Use it instead of bouillon. 

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