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.
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.