What’s for dinner: Whole Roasted Beef Sirloin with Chasseur Sauce

I’d never heard of demi-glace before.

But I was up for the challenge. And, sure, there was a little hubris involved — those two desserts were going to make taste buds sing! — but, at heart, this recipe is a nothing more than a big-ass steak, with sauce on the side. How difficult could it be?

Well, as it turns out, a typical recipe for veal demi-glace looks something like this: 10 pounds of veal bones, sawed into 2-inch pieces, roasted at high temperature, then added to a stockpot so big it takes two burners to simmer (at the rate of one bubble per second!) the sauce for 24 straight hours. Skimming the fat every half-hour. You start with more than eight quarts of liquid and end with a mere two cups of highly concentrated demi-glace. This woman’s chronicle of her experience sums it up pretty nicely.

I love my friends but, frankly, I love myself more. There was no way I was devoting that much time to creating something that would be used on the side, like gravy.

So I hit the Internet to search for something ready-made, and ended up finding it at Williams-Sonoma … for $29 per 10-ounce jar. The “Cooking With Demi-Glace” page talks about how the sauce is so intense, just a spoonful or two livens up dishes. But this recipe calls for four cups’ worth. (“Take 20 pounds of veal bones …”) That couldn’t possibly be right — the flavor would overpower everything else, right? — but just in case, I bought two jars. Still nowhere near four cups worth, but a sizeable quantity. I decided I’d start small and season as I went; if it turned out only needed one jar, I could always return the second.

The rest was easy. Hobe Meats cut my 4.4-pound sirloin roast to order*, and it required minimal seasoning. While it roasted, I spooned increasingly more demi glace into the chasseur sauce, settling somewhere right around 5 ounces’ worth.

The finished sauce — hearty texture, rich savory flavor — was so delicious I could see making a lighter version for other roasted meats, or even in vegetable dishes like ratatouille (which is on my list of must-try-to-make meals). I never did take back that second jar — partly because I threw away the box it came in and didn’t feel like picking it out of the recyclables, and partly just in case I want to revisit the recipe down the road.
* I did end up with a Prime grade cut, which put me back $62. I reassured myself by considering that the roast fed 10 people, which works out to about $6 a person.

WHAT SAM WORE: 12-30-10
The sweater: Extra-fine merino wool V-neck vest from Uniqlo, New York.
The shirt: Long-sleeved cotton button-down from H&M, Scottsdale.
The pants: Slim straight jeans from Lucky, Chandler Fashion Center.
The shoes: Jack Purcell sneakers by John Varvatos for Converse, from Nordstrom Rack.

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