Au Jus: The Thinner Gravy
Au Jus comes from the French culinary canon and is pronounced “oh-ZHOO.” The term means “with juice, “in the juice,” or just “juice.” For example, Prime Rib Au Jus means prime rib with the juice.
Jus is a specific type of sauce, made from the meat juice, normally a roast. It is typically served to accompany a meat, especially roast beef, which is then known as “Au Jus.” Jus was originally a way to re-purpose the de-glazed pan juices of the roast into a simple, minimalist sauce. However, the term evolved to refer to any meat-based sauce from the debris of other flavoring agents that have been strained off. Unlike pan gravy, Jus is unthickened, but there is a thickened version called jus lié (“zhoo-lee-AY”) or fond lié (“fohn-lee-AY”), which is prepared by adding cornstarch or arrowroot to brown stock and then simmered.
In general, Au Jus is a simple sauce that is thinner than gravy and has a very flavor-rich taste. Au Jus is traditionally made from the juices of the meat serviced. In the simplest form, Jus is just the drippings from the pan of roasted meat. However, when the Jus is enhanced by de-glazing the pan with stock and then shimmered with mirepoix before straining, this creates the Au Jus for the dishes we all love.
How To Prepare Au Jus
Everyone has their own specific ways to prepare a fresh Au Jus, but it all begins with roasting or pan-searing your meat. Then, de-glaze the pan with a little water (or red wine for a red wine Jus). Strain the liquid and allow it to cool slightly. Skim off the fat. The Jus can then be reduced.
The high temperatures and long cooking time are the conditions that create more juice from the meat. Prime Rib is the perfect meat to create Au Jus. It has the perfect consistency to cook for a longer time without toughening up. Be careful not to cook the meat too long because you may get a lot of juice but then have tough meat.
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