Veal Demi-Glace: The Big Chill

If you’ve been following along, this is part of a series of posts on the subject of making demi-glace. Previously, I’ve covered the basics that you need and the process of roasting the veggies and veal bones. Then there’s a post on the subject of making the actual veal stock here. There’s also a screed about why you should make veal demi-glace in The Frederick News-Post.

Now that you’ve made your stock, you need to strain it thoroughly. I like to strain it through a coarse chinois (conical strainer) set into a fine-mesh chinois. I keep large Cambro type containers around the house for this sort of job, but you can use anything–an enormous bowl, a series of big Tupperware containers, whatever.

When straining the stock, don’t press down on the solids or force anything through the mesh of the sieve(s). You want any particulate matter you can capture to stay out of the stock. It’s best to dip out ladles of the stock into the straining tool rather than pouring from the big pot. This is because particulate matter tends to accumulate on the very bottom of the stockpot (besides gathering on the top surface, where you have diligently skimmed it off), and if you pick up the pot and pour out the stock you might agitate this muck back into the body of your stock. I usually discard the bottom bit of the stock after dipping most of it out since it’s the last bits that tend to have bits of junk.

Then, you need to chill your stock. I do not recommend putting several gallons of super-hot stock into your refrigerator, unless you don’t mind everything else in your fridge getting hot. You can add ice to the stock to chill it more rapidly. Or you can make big ice chillers by filling a couple of 2-liter soda bottles most of the way with water and freezing them. Stick one in the hot stock and stir thoroughly to cool quickly. You can also try filling your sink with ice water and sticking the hot container of stock in the sink. The goal is to rapidly cool the stock so it gets through the temperature danger zone as quickly as possible.

Ideally, you will get the stock down to room temperature within a half-hour or less. Then, you can stick the stock in the fridge to cool overnight. (If you live in a cold climate, you can try sticking the stock outside–but secure it well, because animals know a good thing when they see it and they will knock the stockpot over if you’re not careful.)

Chilling the stock thoroughly allows the fat in the stock plenty of time to rise to the top and solidify. Then it’s a simple matter of scraping it off with a spoon and discarding it to defat the stuff. Some people use the fat to cook potatoes or whatnot, but I don’t care for veal fat in the same way I love pork or chicken fat–I just discard it, usually in a trash can to avoid mucking up my plumbing.

Take a deep breath–you’re almost to the final leg. Plan on something like a nice steak for dinner tomorrow night, because your demi will be ready for an outstanding pan sauce with only a little more work than you’ve already invested…


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