Any recommendations on demi glace?

Joined Oct 23, 2008
I'm going to have some people over for dinner later this week and thought I'd try making a demi glace for the first time. I was planning to have herb roasted chicken breast over cheese polenta and thought a wine/demi glace might be good with it. I have some dried porcinis that I could use to give it almost a marsala type feel.

I've read a little about it, and I have some books I could go by but I was wondering if there is any need to use beef in that sauce or if it could just be done by say roasting some chicken wings. I assume the idea is to get enough collagen into the sauce so that when it reduces down it becomes a little thick? Should I cheat and add gelatin to it? Or would it possibly be done using a roux? I have some celery and onion pieces frozen I was going to roast along with some carrots.

I've never made a demi glace before. I guess it will be a little time consuming but I don't feel like it is something I could really mess up outside of maybe not getting it to the thickness that would be appealing. Any tips would be appreciated. I plan to make it a day ahead of the dinner and have it ready to reheat.

One last thing, should I use the porcinis after they are re-constituted to add to the sauce, or would it be better just to extract their flavor and then add something like sliced baby portabellas?
Joined Sep 5, 2008
If I were you I would focus on making a great chicken jus. Using some chicken bones you should be able to reduce to the desired thickness (whatever your desired thickness is). Just don't call it (or whatever you were about to make) demi-glace, because that's not what demi-glace is.
Joined Oct 23, 2008
Why is what I was going to make not a demi glace? I read that it's typically beef shanks roasted with vegetables (celery, onion, carrots.. sometimes leeks) and tomato paste.. then simmered and skimmed, strained and reduced. Some people use chicken in addition to beef shanks.

Edit: So it's made using a brown stock, along with sauce espagnole (which is thickened with a roux)
Joined Mar 1, 2017
For what you are doing, what you have read will work just fine.

You can make a "short cut version" chicken demi glace by roasting some wings with mirepoix and some beef shanks. Roast them in a 400'f to 425'f oven until they are well browned (about 75 to 90 minutes) and then transfer everything from the roasting pan to a large pot, including the juices and fat. Cover with cold water, season to your liking and bring to a very gentle simmer. Let simmer for 12-14 hours. The longer, the better. Strain the meat and bones from the broth. Return the broth to the stove and bring to a boil and reduce to about 1/4 to 1/3 of its original volume. Once reduced, strain it into a container and let cool until its cool enough to put in the fridge. After it has cooled in the fridge for a few hours, a nice gelatin will have formed under a layer of fat. Remove the fat.

When you are ready to use it, simply spoon the gelatin into a pan and reduce it. It will thicken as it reduces so, there is no need to add any thickener such as flour, gelatin etc. You can season it as it reduces with herbs or spices as you see fit.

I hope this helps. Good luck. :)
Joined May 5, 2010
I agree with the comment about making a chicken jus.

True Demi-Glace is a labor of time and love.

What has happened now-a-days is that recipes have been created to alleviate all that fuss and time, so anyone can make it and call it Demi-Glace, but it is and never will be the real thing.

Roasted Veal bones, Espagnole, Beef Stock, brown roux, and Madeira, or Sherry...reduce, reduce, reduce....
Joined Oct 23, 2008
Yea I had wanted to spend the time to learn to make a demi. I guess with the focus being on beef flavor, it's probably not the ideal thing to pair with chicken. I think I'll just make a roasted vege stock with some chicken parts and then the porcinis and reduce it down. I could always make a brown roux to thicken it if needed. Not a demi but still a sauce that should be flavorful.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Yea I had wanted to spend the time to learn to make a demi.
My own train of thought... when I want to spend the time learning to make a classic, I first spend the time to follow the classic recipe without any alterations, additions, or changes to the original recipe, and take as few shortcuts as humanely possible. So for a true demi glace, that means veal (not chicken, and normally not beef which can tend to give the sauce a gamey flavor), no gelatin, no wine... otherwise you're starting to flavor the demi, and you're making a chicken demi, or a wine demi... but yeah if it were me I'd make the standard demi first and later try more complex flavors.

Imagine someone who's never had a burger and wants to try to make one for the first time and decides to swap the beef patty for a chicken/mushroom patty and use rosemary-lemon-buns and a honey-mustard sauce... they may make something great, but they still won't know what a burger is or tastes like.

Moreover as you said yourself, a herb-roasted chicken breast isn't the best thing to pair with demi-glace I think? I dunno to me it would be with a nice steak.

What's in a name you may ask. IMO there's nothing wrong with making a sauce for your herb roasted chicken that's made from chicken stock, wine, dried porcinis, etc....: it'll most likely be delicious! The reason the name is important to me is because if you think that's demi-glace you may make up your mind on how you like demi-glace and what you could serve it with.... and get the wrong ideas. Back to the chicken/rosemary/lemon/mustard burger example.

Personally I think with roasted chicken nothing can beat a great jus. Less fussy than making demi-glace, much, much more intense in flavor, and much better pairing with your chicken. But it's (obviously) your choice: whether you want a strongly-chickeny-flavored jus that's going to sublime the chicken, or whether you prefer something that brings yet another flavor on your plate.

I have a super simple recipe for a pan roasted herb chicken with jus that is great IMO.

Pan roasted herb chicken
  1. In a cold pan, put some olive oil so you get a nice film at the bottom. If you tilt the pan, the oil should form a puddle. Maybe 4 to 6 tablespoons should do the trick. That's a bit more oil than you would normally use but the oil will infuse with the flavor of the herbs and carry that flavor to the chicken.
  2. Squash a few garlic cloves, peel, add to pan.
  3. Add FRESH herbs to the pan. Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Bay leaves work best here. No parsley, cilantro etc. as they'll probably burn.


  4. Put pan over LOW heat. Let the olive oil infuse for a while, making sure nothing burns. The herbs/garlic start cooking and may become slightly colored, that's ok.
  5. Remove all solids from the pan, leaving the oil in.
  6. Crank the heat to medium and add dried, seasoned chicken pieces (here I'm using half a chicken).
  7. Make sure you get as much beautiful golden color as possible on the chicken pieces, on all sides. This may take a while. A lot of recipes tell you "2 minutes". IMO it's more like 10 to 15mn. You don't want to go too fast or the oil will lose its herb flavor.


  8. Add a glass of white wine, put all herbs/garlic back in the pan, and cover with lid. Cook SLOWLY until the chicken is cooked (15 to 20mn).
  9. Remove lid and reduce the white wine/herb sauce until syrupy.
  10. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, check for consistency and seasoning.
  11. Plate the chicken pieces and pour the white wine/herb/lemon jus over them.
Top Bottom