Demi Glace for the Ultimate Steak Sauce

We’d like to think that our locally sourced Ontario beef doesn’t need much more than just simple seasoning of salt and pepper to serve a great steak. But there is something about a rich glossy stick-to-your-lips and coat-your-palette steak sauce that can elevate a great steak to something truly special.

That special something is a modern demi-glace and, "This is how we do it." 

Unlike a traditional demi-glace which consists of flour, butter, tomatoes and aromatic veg, the modern version is simpler, richer and in our not-so-humble opinion, better.

We start by roasting knuckle bones, packed with collagen, that when cooked down over a long period converts to gelatin, giving the sauce an incredible consistency and mouth feel. On top of the knuckle bones we also add any reserved dry aged beef bones from our dry aged rib and loin primals for that extra umami.

Beef bones after being cooked for 24hrs to make a beef broth

The bones are first roasted for about 2 hours, kick starting the maillard reaction that turns them a deep caramel. Next, the roasted bones are added to a stock pot where they are gently simmered for a full 24 hours. The result is a liquid that has drawn every possible ounce of umami goodness from roasted bones. After its filtered and the fat skimmed off the top, the resulting liquid is what is known as a brown stock.

Now we could stop right here, season with a little salt, pepper and thyme and you’d have the most delicious and nutritious bone broth you’ve ever tasted, but it’s demi glace we’re after and it takes one more step.

The brown stock is further reduced to a third of its original volume until it’s shiny and coats the back of a spoon, now we have demi glace. The demi glace is cooled quickly in an ice bath added to 8oz jars and vacuumed sealed for freshness.

Make the ultimate steak sauce with demi glace

The demi glace contains nothing but roasted bones and water, it’s quite literally concentrated beef flavour, but it’s not a sauce yet. You’ll need to take a few extra steps to transform it into the ultimate steak sauce, and with ingredients this good, it’s really simple.

  1. Prepare the sauce while your steaks are resting.
  2. For two 12oz steaks add about 2-3 tablespoons of demi glace to a saucepan.
  3. Heat the pan on low to medium heat, remember the demi glace is already quite thick and it can burn easily.
  4. All you really need is salt and pepper but you can also add shallots, thyme and a clove of garlic.
  5. If you find the sauce is too thick simply add a little water and lower the heat.
  6. Add the juices pooled under your resting steak back to the sauce, don’t waste it.
  7. Taste it and adjust the salt until it’s just right.
  8. Finish the sauce by first switching off the heat, and dropping in 2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter and swirling the pan until the butter is completely emulsified.
  9. Spoon the sauce over your steaks and voila you’re ready to enjoy the perfect steak sauce

Can I use the demi glace to make a pan sauce?

Pan sauces can be kinda tricky, first make sure the fond aka brown bits stuck to your pan aren’t burned. If they are burned, it’s best not to use it all, it’s going to be bitter. If it’s good add a bit of water to deglaze the pan and then taste it for salt. If all of the above is good, go ahead and add the deglazed pan sauce to your saucepan of demi glace before swirling in the cold butter.

What if you have extra sauce?

Don’t throw it away we both worked pretty hard to make it. Store it in the fridge and when you want to use it, warm it up in the microwave, shake or stir to combine the butter back into the sauce and spoon it over other stuff. It doesn’t have to be steak. Try adding it to glazed carrots, or fried rice, or my personal favourite, Japanese omurice.

But you’ve gotta have that bone broth

The modern demi glace is pretty versatile, in fact it’s really easy to make it into a delicious bone broth by simple dilution, one part demi to two parts water. Flavour it with whatever floats your boat, it’s awesome with just salt and pepper but chives, shallots, mushrooms, and finely chopped garlic make awesome additions too.

And finally, if you’re feeling that ramen vibe, the demi glace makes the most epic ramen broth you’ll ever have.