Wild bird glace

Wild Bird Glacé

Bird hunter and cook Bob Butz reflects on his autumn ritual and shares technique for a sauce that figuratively and literally captures the essence of the chase. Unlike a sauce that can cover the taste of a dish, a glace, or glaze, heightens the flavor. This one's good over venison and wildfowl, any game really.


15-quart stockpot and a large frying pan Ample amount of yellow onions Carcasses of wild birds left over after cooking. (Note: I freeze mine in Ziploc bags, storing them up until the end of the year.) Olive oil Bay leaves Juniper berries


How to make a glacé: Start by chopping bones into pieces with a cleaver. The bones of young birds are best, as these contain more gelatin, and the marrow contains more flavoring ingredients. Chop a pile of yellow onions equal in size to your pile of bones. Next, coat your frying pan with olive oil, and caramelize the onions (anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on quantity), cooking them on medium heat until they have a soupy consistency and the color of honey. Lay bones out flat on a cookie sheet and broil 5 minutes, or until they begin to release juices. Add onions and bones to stock pot, and add water to top off pot. Add two bay leaves and a half dozen juniper berries. Keep this mixture at a rolling boil, with no lid, until half the water has evaporated (3 to 4 hours). Strain contents through a colander into a bowl, taking care to mash all the liquid from the bones. Pour only the liquid back into stockpot. The French define a glacé as stock reduced to “about a fourth of its original volume.” So how much stock you have at this stage dictates how much water to add. Add water to stock in a 3:1 ratio, and again bring this to a rolling boil until water evaporates away and what you are left with is a deep brown liquid that’s noticeably thicker than gravy. Freeze in plastic containers. For a dinner of four, about one cup will do fine. While warming to serve, add a splash of cognac or some wild morels if you have them.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski