Homemade Demi-Glace

The ultra-concentrated French sauce is a labor of love, but your soups, stews, and sauces will thank you all season long.

  • Serves

    Makes 2 cups

  • Cook

    1 day


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on August 14, 2023

Essentially thick, ultra-concentrated veal stock, this demi-glace recipe is well worth the time it takes to prepare. Roasting the bones and vegetables before boiling them (plus deglazing the resulting fond) gives the initial stock a pronounced flavor and deep color. Veal bones have more collagen than beef bones, hence why they’re preferable for demi-glace, but a combination of beef bones and cross-cut shanks can be substituted.

Simmering the bones gently for hours transforms the collagen into gelatin, which is what makes demi-glace solid when chilled. Be sure to skim the fat every 5–10 minutes during the first hour of cooking, then every 30 minutes or so after that to ensure the broth remains clear. Six hours is the minimum cook time for the stock, but letting it go for 12–24 hours is even better. Demi-glace is a secret-weapon flavor booster in soups and stews, and it makes an unparalleled base for sauces destined for meat, poultry, and game.


  • 1 medium leek, washed
  • 15 parsley sprigs
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 10 lb. veal bones
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. tomato paste


Step 1

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500ºF. Discard all but two of the green leek leaves, then coarsely chop the white part and set aside.

Step 2

Make a bouquet garni: Trim the ends of the leek leaves to make two 7-inch-long pieces. Place the parsley, bay leaves, and thyme between the two leaves. Using kitchen twine, wrap tightly to form a packet (trim any excess twine) and set aside.

Step 3

In a large, flameproof roasting pan, season the veal with salt and arrange in a single layer. Bake until lightly browned, 1–1½ hours. Scatter with the carrots, onions, and chopped leek and bake until the vegetables are deep brown, about 45 minutes more.

Step 4

Using tongs, transfer the bones and vegetables to a large pot. Discard any remaining fat in the roasting pan, then place on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, using a spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Cook until reduced slightly, about 3 minutes, then pour into the pot with the bones.

Step 5

To the pot, add the tomato paste, bouquet garni, and enough cold water to cover the bones. Turn the heat to high. When the liquid begins to bubble, turn the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, skimming any fat and froth that rises to the surface—and adding cold water as needed to keep the bones submerged—until the sauce is thick, dark, and concentrated, 6–24 hours (see headnote).

Step 6

Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large pot. Strain the stock (do not press on the solids as this will cloud the liquid), discarding all the solids (see footnote). Turn the heat to medium-high. When the liquid begins to boil, turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced to about 2 cups, 4–5 hours. (In an airtight container, the demi-glace will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.)

Note: The spent bones may be boiled with fresh vegetables and aromatics to make a less flavorful stock (called remouillage in French) that’s suitable for light soups and sauces.  

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