Basic Brown Veal Stock

Have you ever wondered why your meat dishes and stews taste like crap? You know the ones I mean? The ones were the recipes call for beef stock or beef broth? It’s not because you’re a bad cook. (Well, you might be, but in that case everything you make tastes like crap.) It’s because you’re using that crappy store bought stuff. The stock is the base of dish, so if your base is crap, then the dish will be crap too.

The solution is very simple. Make your own veal stock.

Basic Brown Veal Stock from The Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 lbs meaty veal bones and joints (knuckles, breast, shank), cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
  • 4 large carrot, peeled
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 2 large onion, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns, cracked
  • 5 stems thyme
  • 5 stems parsley
  • 2 bay leaf

METHOD:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and lightly oil two large sheet or roasting pans. Place the pans in the oven. When the oven and the pans are hot, remove them, and place the meat and bones on them. Make sure they’re spread out so they brown as evenly as possible. Roast them for 30 minutes, then turn them and continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until they’re appealingly golden brown and smell delicious.

  2. Place the bones in a stock pot. Pour off the fat from the pans, add a couple of cups of water to the pans, place them over high heat, and scrape the brown bits stuck to the pan. Taste this liquid. Sometimes the juices from the bones can burn and make this deglazing liquid bitter – if it’s bitter, don’t use it. If it tastes good (its flavor will be much milder than its deep color will indicate), add this liquid to the stock pot, then continue to add enough cold water to cover the bones by a couple of inches, about 10 quarts. Bring the water to a simmer, skimming the surface of any fat and impurities that rise. Place the stock pot in the oven and heat it to between 180 degrees and 200 degrees F. Let the stock cook for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, clean and roughly chop your vegetables. When the bones have cooked for 8 to 10 hours, remove the stock pot from the oven. Add the remaining ingredients. (For an even deeper, richer stock, roast the vegetables and tomato paste till they are slightly caramelized, and then add them to the stock.) Bring the pot back up to a simmer, skimming as necessary, then return the pot to the oven for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Strain the stock through a colander or strainer as soon as it’s out of the oven. Strain the stock a second time through a kitchen cloth. Refrigerate the stock. Remove and discard the congealed fat on the top of the stock. Use within a week or freeze as necessary.