Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Demi-Glace and Dredge

Did you ever notice how many cooking terms come to us by way of the French? That is no accident as you know if you’ve read any history of cooking. The French invented the professional cook and many, many cooking sauces and techniques we all use as a matter of course today.

Reminder: If you have any terms you’d like explained, list them in Comments and I’ll get to them on the appropriate day. Now, on to Day 4--D is for …

D is for Demi-Glace
Even if you didn’t know what it was called, I‘m sure you’ve had this rich brown sauce by itself on meat or as a base used to make other sauces. The French word glace (in this context) is the word for icing or glaze. The demi means it is made from veal stock (the traditional way) and volume is reduced 20-40% through cooking. Cooled in the refrigerator, the demi-glace sets up as a jell.

If another stock is used, the term is modified to indicate that. Thus, you might see “beef demi-glace” or “chicken demi-glace” on a menu.

How do you turn meat stock into a glace? You reduce the ingredients by half by heating on the stove for a long time. What do you heat? There are different recipes, but all include using veal (or other) stock, veggies, and seasoning.

If you want to buy demi-glace, high end kitchen stores are a good source. Or make your own with this recipe:

D is for Dredge
What is the meaning of dredge? In cooking, the word dredge means to coat an item of food in flour (or cornmeal or breadcrumbs) before frying. (In my mystery novels, rivers get dredged, but let’s not do that today!)

The standard procedure for breading an item (veggie or meat) prior to frying or deep frying is to dredge the food in flour (or some other grain form). You may have made chicken or veal piccata or fried chicken tenders after dredging.

It can be messy, dredging. If you are only using flour to dredge, pat the meat or veggies dry first, then turn it over and over to coat the food.

Others use a wet and dry dredging technique. Most of those cooks recommend having bowls lined up with your liquid and dry ingredients that you use with two different hands. I’m not so good at that being so determinedly right handed, but maybe you can master the technique of one hand dipping food into egg or buttermilk and the other into the seasoned flour or cornmeal mixture.

Doesn’t matter. It’s going to be messy.


  1. Somehow the visual of what's usually dredged in your novels sounds messy... and gruesome.

    1. LOL Thanks, I hope so, Damaria! Oh, and thanks for the reminder about the verification step. I forgot to do that in the rush to get my posts up and going.

  2. Now here is the primary reason that I don't cook so well. I though anything glace would be a sweet.

    Visiting from AtoZ

    1. LOL, Rhonda! It could be--but not necessarily. But demi-glace, never! BTW, your site has amazing pictures. The Chapel of Bones is otherworldly! What a clever theme for the A-Z Challenge. I love this crazy thing because I get introduced to such interesting new people and their blogs. I'll stop by and comment later this weekend.

  3. I watched a chef once demonstrate the two-hand technique of dredging - looked so easy and logical! But when I tried it I messed it up after about two seconds. Oh well, hush-puppy fingers are worth it for the delicious chicken the process yields :)

    Nancy at Hungry Enough To Eat Six
    2014 A to Z Challenge Participant

    1. LOL Thanks, Nancy for coming by to comment and support my contention--messy, oh, yeah, but worth it! I've been to your A-Z challenge when we first began. Have to get back there this weekend to catch up on what you're writing.

  4. When I want to flour coat meat I put a couple of tablespoon of flour in a plastic bag, add seasoning and then add the chunks of meat. Tie the top up tight leaving plenty of air inside (or I usually just twist it round and pinch it tight with my fingers) and then just toss the whole thing around a bit.

    1. Hi, Martine. Thanks for coming by. I do that, too, but the term "dredge" means you have a liquid bath and then press the flour or bread crumbs into the meat (or veggies). But most of the time, I don't bother (for everyday cooking) and just toss the flour and spices with meat pieces. The dredging only matters if you want it crusty for frying.