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Mar 19, 2011 04:35 PM

Red wine reduction - Couple questions

My goal is to make a silky smooth intensely flavored sauce with a lot of body. I've read that you reduce your stock, reduce your wine, and then combine them in the pan. I've also read that you can start by making your stock with only wine instead of water, and just reduce that down. My first question is which way do you think is better?

Second question is should I thicken with arrowroot? Do "fine restaurants" thicken their sauces with starch? Do they just load them up with butter? I feel like no matter what I do my sauces remain thin-looking no matter how far I reduce things. It's starting to drive me a bit crazy that I can't come anywhere close to replicating the sauces I find in restaurants. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. It's not you, it the demi glace that most restaurants use, along with the glorious knob of butter. With the reduced veal stock that they have in abundance, you can get a much better sauce at home, IMO, if you add it to whatever drippings, fond, brown bits in the bottom of our pan. It may not be veal stock, but it gives you a depth of flavor. And please, no arrowroot, flour or other will never give you what you're looking for.

    4 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      What are you serving the sauce with? The key to these sauces is the quality of your stock. if you want a rich wine reduction, roast your stock bones first in a hot oven to brown them well. deglaze the pan with wine if you wish, or water-yes scrape all the brown bits!. you should add some water since you will need to boil boil boil and simmer until meat is falling off the bones. after straining you will need to boil it for a long time, until the sauce is nearly takes a lot of stock to make just a 1/4 cup or less of rich sauce.
      (you can brown the bones on the stove, make sure you use a heavy pot with even heating.
      once it coats a spoon well, and you think its about to burn, you may add butter, some salt, pepper if you like and maybe a dash more wine ( if you are going for wine sauce.
      it takes hours to make the real sauce but it so worth it. stirring in the butter, or cream, or creme fraiche will make it a cream sauce.
      I've done this for venison, beef, duck.
      good luck!

      1. re: Jenni899

        Aren't you describing a demi glace of sort?

        1. re: escondido123

          I guess! but you can make it at home with some effort, and freeze some condensed stock for a quick sauce later. I often add the homemade condensed stock to the pan, some wine if I am making seared duck breasts, or venison. after removing the cooked meat t rest or keep warm. its not hard, just time consuming to make a great master stock.

          1. re: Jenni899

            Yes, I know you can make it at home. The only difference, which may not even matter, between what you made and the veal stock for demi glace is.....of course...the use of veal bones.

    2. I've also read that you can start by making your stock with only wine instead of water, and just reduce that down

      Who makes stock "with only wine"? A little bit of wine for the acid maybe, but all wine and no water??

      1. to clarify, I have used beef bones, venison(deer) bones, even mixed game/duck/chicken. Veal bones aren't available in my area. I find thats not critical. Just dont use plain chicken and no pork bones.

        as for the wine only-your stock, demiglaze will get too acidic. you also need the water for the long simmering. Its better to add some wine at the deglazing stage, and more later at then end if you want a strong wine taste.

        you may have to experiment, I certainly did for years. just pick up some beef soup bones and start trying, its worth it! also a good technique for rich soups such as genuine french onion-the stock is the same, just less reduced.