Gourmet Essence

It starts with stock, the liquid produced from simmering veal bones, vegetables and seasonings for several hours. Then the stock is reduced by half to create a more intensely flavored, thicker liquid full of natural gelatin. It's demi-glace (pronounced demi-glass), and it's the secret to many cooks' best dishes.

Making demi-glace is too daunting a process for most people. Fortunately for the home and professional chef, a company called More Than Gourmet makes Demi-Glace Gold, a highly concentrated form of demi-glace known as glace de viande or meat glaze, which it ships nationwide. Demi-Glace Gold can be used full strength in recipes that call for glace de viande, reconstituted with water for demi-glace or further diluted to make veal stock. It does not contain any preservatives, MSG, salt or sugar and it has an unrefrigerated shelf-life of 18 months.

You can perk up soups by adding a bit of straight Demi-Glace Gold, or combine it with wine, herbs and perhaps a touch of cream to make a classic French sauce. The smallest container (1 1/2 ounces) makes about a cup of rich demi-glace, enough for a satiny brown sauce to accompany grilled meats. The concentrate is available in four sizes, ranging from a four-pack of these small containers (totaling 6 ounces of meat glaze; $18) to 800-ounce (yes, 50-pound) containers for the food service industry.

For information about container sizes and prices, phone More Than Gourmet (800) 860-9392.

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