Glace de Viande, also known as Veal Demi Glace… is the French secret ingredient added to dark complex sauces. The addition of Veal Demi Glace to any brown sauce is the component that makes sauces creamy smooth. This was the component added to French Lentils to create, what I think, is an incredibly rich flavor.
Many people think that the creamy consistency of a sauce served with meats in French cuisine comes from butter and therefor think that the French sauces are rich. In fact, Glace de Viande comes from roasted or charred veal bones and vegetables. All natural, all flavorful.
I made Veal Demi Glace once, because I wanted to see if I could actually make that velvety thick consistency. It took my three days, but I did make it and I did get that valvety smooth consistency. I would likely change the technique to better suit a domestic kitchen the next time, if I were to make it again. I have to say that you really have to love cooking to create this reduction.
I only made it because I could no longer buy it at the restaurant food supply store in the west end of Toronto. This store sold Glace de Viande, frozen, in tablets like a large chocolate bar. The bar was sectioned so you could break off a piece, each piece measuring about 1/4 liquid cup once it was defrosted. Just the right amount to add to complex sauces to enhance and enrich their flavor. Had I known that they would discontinue this wonderful product, I would have bought a freezer full.
Since they discontinued Glace de Viande, I try, wherever we are at the time, to buy restaurant quality Glace de Viande. Quebec is a good source in Canada, and New England is good source in the US. The only problem is that you have to purchase the sauce by the gallon. I could see a quart, but a gallon would be a waste.
Not all is lost however, as I did recently find Veal Demi Glace locally at Olliffe Butcher Shop at Summerhill in Toronto. Their version is good, but it seems to me that it is a mix of Sauce Espanol, which I make routinely, and Glace de Viande. The only draw back is the quantity that you have to use, instead of a 1/4 of a cup, you will need more like a half to 3/4 of a cup. But, the flavor and color is there. And, beggars can’t be choosers. Beware, the demand is high, so you are not guaranteed to find it all the time.
Make or buy? I would have to say buy, but it is fun to make and it will last a couple of years in your freezer!