Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vegan Demi Glace - Method

(pictured: seared cauliflower steak with vegan demi glace)

Okay, before anyone points this out I do see the irony in this post. Anything called vegan demi glace is definitely a contraction in terms. However stay with me so that I can explain.

One of the things that I miss being able to use is demi glace. It adds such a wonderful depth and richness to sauces and soups. I have been pondering how to make a vegan version of this for well over a year. Every time I thought about making it I would stop myself saying it will never be the same, why bother.

Since Sue and I are going to be veganizing “ad hoc at home” I knew I needed to get this right. This is certainly not the time shy away from a challenge. I discussed this with Sue and Rose and between the three of us I thought we had some great ideas. Today was the day to tackle this project.

The method

To start I made a quick roasted veggie stock. Then I strained the stock to remove the sediment. I add some mixed dried mushrooms, tomato paste and whole, smashed garlic cloves and continued to cook the stock down. I strained the stock again and removed the garlic. I added the mushrooms back to the stock and ran the whole thing through the Vitamix and strained it again.

I returned this stock to a saucepan and cooked it down until I liked to taste. Next I thickened the sauce with a little kneaded butter (or in this case, kneaded olive oil and whole wheat flour). I added a small amount of Worcestershire sauce and marmite to taste and a little kosher salt.

Much to my surprise the sauce was rich and thick and reminiscent of demi glace. Can I tell the difference? Absolutely. However, for a low fat vegan alternative to demi I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Now I need to make it again and measure what I am using.

Things I would change

There were a few things I learned making my first variation of vegan demi glace. First, I wouldn’t puree the mushrooms again. That final straining step after the mushrooms were pureed took much longer than the others and resulted in a good bit of loss. Second, I am going to try a different thickener to see how that impacts the texture and color. I would prefer to have a sauce that is more transparent. Third, I may use caramelized onion and garlic in the next batch to see what that does to the flavor. Fourth, I am considering using the fat in the caramelization step and using a fat free thickener. Overall, this is much better than I expected. I decided to post this method in case anyone wants to play around with concept in his or her kitchen before I post the final version.

UPDATE: Estimates of quantities

I started by making approximately 8 cups of roasted veggie stock using abut 4 cups of veggie trim (carrot, onion, celery, leek and parsley stems). Then strain. Next I added about a cup of mixed dried mushrooms, about 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 6 garlic cloves, cook to concentrate. Strain again. I used 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour and as much extra virgin olive oil as was necessary to make thick paste (about a tablespoon of oil). Simmer while whisking to thicken. Now add Worcestershire and marmite to taste, I am going to guess a teaspoon of Worcestershire and 1/4 teaspoon of marmite. By the time I was finished concentrating the flavor the sauce was about 2 cups worth.

I stored the sauce in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator and then reheated it by placing the bottle in a bowl filled with hot water so I could sauce the plate.


  1. Brilliant...but I'm dying to know the specifics, as this is a technique as much as a recipe...

    I think straining it is pure genius, each time concentrating and centering the flavors ( I suppose) should really consider writing a cookery book.

    The color of the glaze looks so rich and caramel, it just has to be delicious.

  2. Rose,

    I just updated the post at the bottom with my estimates of what I used. They are probably close (within 10%) but certainly aren't exact.

    Thanks for the nice compliment by the way. I really appreciate it.

    talk to you later,

  3. Vegan demi? Ian wouldn't be able to wrap his head around that one. But I am impressed!

  4. Alexandra,

    I thought the exact same thing about Ian's reaction when I was making this. Since he doesn't believe in veg stock you know this is an absolute "no way" in his book. It is surprisingly rich and complex. Definitely exceeded my expectations.


  5. Just an FYI this sauce is not vegan if it contains wrocheshire, for whorcheshire contains anchovies...

  6. Jaime,

    I assumed all vegans use vegan worcestershire sauce. There is a recipe for how to make your own on Martha Stewart (of all places) if you are interested.



Related Posts with Thumbnails