Vegan Demi-Glace

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups eggplant
  • 2 cups cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup beets
  • 1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup celery root
  • 3/4 cup broccoli
  • 1/ cup onion
  • 1/4 cup garlic
  • 2-3 strips of kombu or kelp
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pectin
  • dash of salt
Instructions
  • Shave vegetables with a mandolin
  • Roast vegetables at 300° for about 3 hours, or until veggies are carmelized and brown (almost burnt)
  • Add water to vegetables and roast for another 45-60 minutes
  • Strain 
  • Reduce broth by half over low heat
  • Add pectin, salt, and xantham gum

Demi - pretentious

I had a subscription to Blue Apron awhile ago. One thing I loved about it were the recipes. There was one recipe in particular—braised heirloom carrots and crispy goat cheese—that required something called "demi-glace".

I didn't know what the hell that was and sometimes Blue Apron felt a bit pretentious (maybe that was just my cheap-ass conscience telling me I was spending too much money). After that first bite, I wanted all the pretentiousness that came with demi-glace. That shit was delicious. Since then, I've wanted to make demi-glace and exactly one year ago I did just that.

And then disaster struck. If you've been a dedicated reader you may recall this disaster and the emotional upheavel I was in when I wrote a how-to for roasting chicken. Wait. I fucking did that? God, 2016 was so weird. And awful. 

I attribite the exhaustive egregiousness of 2016 on that one calamity. Yes. Spilling the demi-glace set the tone for the entire fucking year.

So, NEW YEAR NEW YOU or some shit, right? 



Making a demi-glace is a long process. It takes hours. Get yourself a mandolin to help. All these beautiful vegetables? Yeah, you're going to have to cut them.

Come on. Who doesn't love a clean shave? Even on veggies it's a good look. Sorry ladies and gentlemen of the bearded variety. ...Did someone say tacos?

Now for the really slow part. Roasting. We want the depth of flavor that only roasting mainfests, so roast those veggies low and slow. Carmelize them. And right when they are on the verge of being burnt, take 'em out. I roasted at 300° for about 3 and a half hours. While a low temperature is key, I think 300 was too low. I would recommend trying 350° to speed up the process just a bit.

Once your veggies are in that sweet spot between burnt and not burnt, add water and roast again for 45-60 minutes. I roasted for 50 minutes. Next, strain the liquid from the veggies. I didn't take a photo because straining wasn't cute. So, after some ugliness, you'll end up with a pot of gorgeous brown stock. There wasn't sarcasm there—it really is gorgeous. See those swirls?

Put it on the stove and reduce it by half. This took me a couple hours on low—again, you could probably increase your heat, speed up the process, and be fine. I'm just a loser with nothing else to do. "Sure! I'll watch glorified vegetable stock reduce this weekend—beats the hell out of SVU reruns!"

After it's reduced, you'll want to thicken it up a bit with pectin. Just a little will do. You can add xantham gum for a better "mouth-feel"—another term I found pompous until I realized that it's like...a real thing.

That's all, folks. Vegan demi-glace.

So, what to do with it? You could try that braised carrot recipe (not vegan, but you could make vegan "goat cheese" for it). You could braise any vegetable really. Oh! I wonder what braised beans taste like? I'm definitely going to try that. It could be used as stock. Maybe mix it with a little water? It could act as a seasoning in pretty much anything. It's savory, it's rich, it's delicious.

You might be wondering: is it worth the time to make it homemade? That's really up to you, your palate, and your time. Give 'em both a shot. I, however, so clearly enjoy being ostentatious.

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