Friday, October 19, 2012

Beef glace (glace de viande)

I like to make a point of not throwing away useful stuff in my kitchen. I think we all throw away too much food. Prepared food, but also things that can be used in other dishes. For example: did you know that water in which you cook your potatoes and vegetables is also a great vegetable stock? So why not stick it in your fridge and collect until you have enough to use as a base for a great soup?

An example of using leftovers from another recipe to create something new and delicate. Remember the leftovers from the beef I used for my Limburgian Goulash?


500 gr of well flavored beef
500 gr of veal or beef bones - I'm using oxtail
1 large onion
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
3 tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
Fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, parsley
Olive oil

First step is to firmly brown your meat and veggies. In restaurant kitchens, this is done in an oven. Also much more bones are used than I do in this example. This will add more gelatin to the glace, creating a thick syrup as end result. Down side of that is that you cannot freeze it as the high concentration of gelatin and salt will not freeze in a normal fridge.

The quick and easy way to do this is to simply fry your ingredients in a little olive oil, using a pan or stock pot.

If you are using a stainless steel pan like I do, remember to not touch the meat until it is firmly browned, otherwise it will stick to the bottom.

Clean and cut your vegetables. No need to peel them but be careful to remove any sand or dirt.
Remove the browned meat from the pan

Now brown your veggies. Go as dark as you can, but be careful to not burn them. This would make your glace too bitter.
Put the meat back in the pan. Make sure you add all the juices.

Add 1 1/2 liter of water or enough until the meat and vegetables are cover by 2 cm of liquid.

Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Reduce
the heat to medium-low. A brown foamy scum will form on top. This is the protein coming from the meat.

It does not really affect the end result, we are not looking for a clear stock here. I still like to remove it because there always is some gunk collecting in there. A small tea-strainer will do the job nicely

There was some left over beef gravy sitting in my fridge.

Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, fresh herbs and a teaspoon of salt. Turn the heat as low as you can  and leave to simmer for 5-6 hours.
Only the occasional bubble should come to the surface. Add water when needed.
In restaurant kitchens this is sometimes left to simmer for 24 hours. I feel that after 6 hours most of the flavor has already transferred to the liquid. At that point I take the meat and other solids from the stock.
Move through strain into a smaller pot. Press gently on the solids to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
Bring to a boil and reduce to 2 cups (yes, 2 cups). Leave to cool overnight. Remove any fat that solidifies on the surface.

And there we have it: two cups of excellent beef glace. A few table spoons of this will give any dark sauce an incredible boost in flavor. This glace will still freeze up nicely because of the relative low gelatin and sodium content and you can keep it in your fridge for months.
You can also use an ice-cube tray to freeze it into nice little cubes.
Just don't use the tray for anything else, or your cocktails will taste like beef :-)


In the Netherlands and Belgium, Oxtail, other meats, fish, poultry and much more can be bought online at 

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