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It's All Better With a Glaze

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 24, 2007 3:00PM


On a rainy night last month, Chicagoist and a friend headed to Café Bionda, which is a perfect place for waiting out overcast skies. We split a 22-ounce, French cut, bone-in ribeye from Allen Brothers, served with sauteed vegetables, bleu cheese and a balsamic demi-glace. It tasted just as good as it sounded. We talked incessantly about that steak for the next week, to the point where some Chicagoistas could finish the story from memory.

What really brought it all together was the demi-glace, which we sopped with bread like Dickensian orphans, once the steak and vegetables were gone. Ever since, we've been longing for it, so we tried our hand at making a demi-glace from scratch. It turned out to be very easy to make. Balsamic is one of the more versatile vinegars a cook can have on hand in his kitchen. It can be used as a salad dressing, to enhance sauces, or just drizzle it onto meats as a seasoning.

Although we didn't have a ribeye handy, we did have an Angus sirloin from Jewel, which worked as a suitable replacement. We broiled that to medium. The vegetables were, as on that night at Bionda, red and yellow bell peppers, red onion slices, and mushrooms. We left the bleu cheese aside for this dinner, but did pair it with a glass of Phillip Shaw No. 8 pinot noir, a silky Australian pinot noir that itself is a versatile complement to a variety of dishes. All that was left was to make the demi-glace. Our recipe is after the jump.

To make a balsamic demi-glace, you'll need the following:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce

Start off by making a roux using 2 teaspoons of water and the brown sugar in a pot, stirring until it caramelizes. Gradually add the remaining water, and cook 3-5 minutes. Add the vinegar, wine, and soy sauce, and cook another 3 minutes. Add the cornstarch and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

This recipe yielded 1 cup of demi-glace. Remember, we were eating for one. You can increase the amounts accordingly if you find yourself in possession of a 22-ounce ribeye.