The latest from Atlas

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Is it jus or is it demi-glace?

Especially for jus?
The delicious gravy that covers our succulent rump steaks has Queenstown locals salivating just at the mere thought of it. An Atlas steak served on a bed of golden fries with a crispy side salad, melting Cafe de Paris butter and demi-glace. 

Demi-glace. But what is demi-glace? It's actually a question that gets asked from time to time by our customers. An intelligible answer is that it's jus, but jus it is not. So being the helpful types that we are at Atlas we thought we'd write a quick post about it. You just never know when it's going to come up in a pub quiz...


Jus is pretty much the equivalent of "juice" in French. So jus refers to the the natural juices given off from the meat whilst it's cooking or roasting. Roasted meat juices can be put into a separate pan and reduced whilst the meat is resting to make a delicious accompaniment. Or, the juice and browned-on tasty bits from a steak cooked in a pan can be de-glazed with some red wine and simmered down. It's quite common to see jus on restaurant menus and there can be some creative flavours. In essence though, it's always the juices from the cooked meat that form the basis of a jus.


Demi-glace differs as it is stock-based and has a much longer cooking and preparation process. Traditionally, demi-glace is made by starting off with some high-quality stock with high natural gelatin and thickening a portion of the stock with a roux, vegetables and some tomato puree (this is also know as a sauce espagnole).

The thickened stock and the clear stock are then combined and reduced down to half the original volume. Many restaurant chefs these days take a more uncomplicated approach to creating demi-glace reducing the stock alone to get the desired consistency. We take this approach also when making our demi-glace at Atlas. 

Whilst we can't divulge the exact ingredients we can tell you that our demi-glace is made from top-quality beef stock; lots of vegetables; some tomato puree; a very generous amount of red wine and seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper. The demi-glace then sits on the stove in the Atlas kitchen for hours as it slowly simmers away, becoming tastier and tastier.

So there you have it - a little insight into French sauces. Anyway, demi-glace? Jus? It doesn't matter so long as it's tasty and at the end of the day - it's all gravy!