Made from bone broth and loaded with flavor, demi-glace is a staple of French kitchens. Meaning “half-glazed”, this thick, rich ingredient is perfect in pork dishes, like tenderloin or roast. Unfortunately it can be rather inaccessible; for home chefs, knowing a good pork demi-glace substitute is essential.
In place of labor-intensive pork demi-glace, you can easily prepare a substitute with beef broth, red wine, butter, and cornstarch. Cook the broth and butter together until it reduces and thickens, then add the cornstarch and wine. There are also options of demi-glace concentrates, or vegan demi-glace.
Smooth, rich, and hearty, pork demi-glace can be used in soups, as a topping, or as an ingredient. Typically, it takes over 14 hours to prepare, using beef bones that have been slow roasted to create a stock. Traditional demi-glace is made with espagnole, a French brown sauce that needs to be painstakingly simmered to perfection.
That is why home cooks with an interest in French cuisine should have a pork demi-glace substitute in their utility belt. Many people will not have the time to roast bones and stir sauces for most of a day. To the relief of anyone ready to serve a beautiful roast pork dinner, a flavorful substitute can be whipped up in just minutes.
Pork Demi-Glace Substitute With Beef Broth
A simple replacement for pork demi-glace can be made by reducing a mixture of beef broth with cornstarch. You will need:
- Beef broth
- Cornstarch, dissolved in water
- Red wine or cooking sherry
Start by melting the butter and broth together in the pan; simmer the ingredients over medium low heat and allow them to slowly melt and mingle with each other. Stir this mixture carefully until it has reduced by half and starting to thicken. Add in the cornstarch, reducing the sauce a bit more and creating a beautifully smooth texture.
The red wine or cooking sherry can be added in now, especially if your mixture has gone too thick. This final ingredient deepens the flavor and contributes additional richness. If you do not have wine or sherry on-hand, balsamic vinegar can be used instead.
This reduction may not be a precise 1:1 replica, but it will taste fantastic over pork dishes. You can also add in seasonings like peppercorn, thyme, or parsley. If you want an even heartier sauce, try using beef consommé instead of beef broth.
Also in want of an alternative to hours of roasting and simmering, Julia Child created an even simpler recipe to use in place of demi-glace. What makes it ‘semi’ is that it does not contain espagnole sauce. While it has fewer ingredients, this technique will take longer.
To prepare a semi-demi-glace, you will need to bring beef stock to a boil in a large saucepan, adding in about a tablespoon of red wine. Simmer on the lowest heat setting available for approximately three hours, skimming the top as needed. You will know the sauce is done when it coats the back of a spoon.
It is more time consuming, but can have excellent results if planned well enough ahead of time. Just as with the quicker recipe, beef consommé can sub in for beef broth to create a more decadent sauce.
To save even more time, and to be sure it is always on standby, there are commercially available demi-glace concentrates. These can be combined with water to make an easy pork demi-glace that is ready in minutes. Such a tool will be especially helpful if you are looking to experiment with different applications of pork demi-glace.
Typically, the demi-glace concentrates that you will find will fetch a hefty price tag. Higher end quick demi-glaces will be made of slow simmered meat stock. It will also typically contain mirepoix stock- a mixture made from vegetables like carrot, celery, and onion.
These are often priced higher due to containing real veal stock. How much water you will need to mix in to create the finished demi-glace varies from brand to brand. On average, the ratio is usually that 1 ounce of concentrate will generate 4-5 ounces of liquid.
More budget friendly options will usually contain a lower grade stock that, instead of being reduced for 30 hours, has been thickened with a starch. Usually that thickening agent is potato or corn starch. These may contain other additives such as corn oil or citric acid. Speaking of potato and corn starch, these potato starch substitutes can also be used.
However, that doesn’t mean that more economically priced pork demi-glace substitutes aren’t worth checking out. Much like the higher end concentrates, these will include tomato paste, seasonings, and vegetable stocks.
No matter your price point, concentrated demi-glace will save chefs valuable cooking time, as they’re ready to go in five minutes.
The time needed to prepare a traditional demi-glace isn’t the only reason you may need a pork demi-glace substitute. Vegan and vegetarian cooks can also enjoy a rich demi-glace without using any animal products.
How To Make a Vegan Demi-Glace
To make a vegan demi-glace, you will need a host of ingredients. While it requires more effort than a meat demi-glace, the end result is well worth it.
The best vegetables to use in vegan demi-glace are:
- Roots, like carrots, beets, and celery root.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli.
- Alliums, like onion, shallot, and garlic. They’ll pack an extra aromatic boost of flavor, and are ingredients in standard demi-glace as well.
- Members of the nightshade family, like eggplant and tomato. Tomato paste is another ingredient found in regular demi-glace, and should not be skipped.
You can play with the vegetables used in your demi glace. Add in what you have on hand, or what you think will taste the best. Mushrooms can add an extra earthy note to the recipe.
Additionally, your demi-glace will need pectin and xanthan gum. These natural gelling agents are what will give your vegan demi-glace body and texture. You will only need a pinch of these; half a tablespoon or less of each will get the job done.
Step One: Roast Your Vegetables
Shred your vegetables and lay them out on a baking sheet, to be roasted in a 300°F / 149°C oven. If you are adding tomato paste, mix it through the vegetables before putting it in the oven. Be sure to turn the vegetables after 20 minutes for even cooking.
Step Two: Mix Your Gelling Agents
While the vegetables are roasting a second time, mix your pectin, xanthan gum, and any seasonings you may want. It is best to at least use salt, as pork demi-glace is rather salty.
Step Three: Roast With Water
After the first roast, remove the sheet from the oven and add as much water as possible without spillage or overflow. Set the tray back into the oven and roast for another 30-40 minutes. The liquid will have turned a rich brown from the caramelizing vegetables.
Step Four: Strain And Reduce
Strain the broth that has been created by roasting the vegetables with a sieve into a stock pot. Just as you would with pork demi-glace, simmer over medium low heat. You are looking for the mixture to reduce.
Step Five: Mix With Dry Ingredients
Remove your reduced sauce from the heat and add in your pectin, xanthan gum, and seasonings. Stir until combined, ending with a thick, sticky glaze.
Even if you are not a vegan or vegetarian, this pork demi-glace substitute is a perfect pairing for tenderloin, roasts, or chops. The flavor can be very meaty, especially if there are mushrooms in the mixture. This replacement for a demi-glace is helpful if you don’t have any stock or consommé in the house to use.
As expected, vegan demi-glace is packed with nutrients. Beets will add potassium and fiber to your demi-glace; they have 2.8g of dietary fiber per every 100g.
Is Pork Demi-Glace The Same As A Base?
Demi-glace can be used as a base for other sauces or soups. For example, a few spoonfuls added to a peppery ragu will make it thicker and more decadent. All of these pork demi-glace alternatives can be used as a base just as the original would be.
When simmering for hours isn’t an option for making your next pork dinner, pork demi-glace substitutes can save the day. Two variations of simple beef broth demi-glaces can be made on the stovetop. These replacements are big on flavor, and will save you a wealth of time.
When time is an issue, there are demi-glace concentrates for any budget. Concentrates are a time-saving and long lasting options, as they can last for 6 months in the fridge after opening.
Or, for a vegan-friendly alternative, a tasty alternative pork demi-glace can be made at home. Roasting vegetables with water and then reducing the liquid over the stove with gelling agents will result in a thick, sticky sauce.