Veal Stock

The taste of veal stock does not have much character, but the gelatinous structure of veal stock does give body to all the other stocks of meats and poultry and, therefore, to the finished sauces made from them. Without veal you have to use a lot of chicken wings, beef shanks, and even pigs’ feet to get the same kind of gelatinous structure in the stocks.

Since good veal bones are not always available, I often use parboiled pork skin or pig feet (after the trotters are cooked you can eat them grilled with lots of mustard). For a full beef flavor, use oxtail (also delicious after it is cooked, breaded, and baked). Beef shin gives the most body to the stock, but half shin and half chuck works as well.

When you use veal bones and meat in a white stock, it is important to rinse them off, put them in cold water, and bring to a boil. Then dump the bones and meat into the sink—and wash all that dirty water down the drain. Finally, rinse the veal in running cold water again.

Put the bones into a clean pot and cook for 6 hours, with the usual constant skimming and a little bit of gentle prodding in the first 30 minutes. Only this way can you be guaranteed a clear stock.

For brown stock, roast the bones 45 minutes in the oven and follow the procedure as in lamb stock.

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Ingredients

Method

Put the veal and foot in a large stockpot that will hold the meat and twice as much water as meat, which should be covered by 6 inches.

Bring the water to a simmer while you skim off any scum; gently move the bones around and skim again, all this for about 45 minutes. As soon as the water simmers, turn off the heat, and let the pot sit for 5 minutes.

Drain the bones and meat in a colander and run cold water over them to completely clean them of any scum, which, if left, would result in a cloudy and gray stock that will never have any clarity of taste.

Clean the pot and return it to the stove. Put the bones back in and cover with water (or stock if you are doing a double stock), going through the same procedure as the first simmer, scum and prodding. The moment it simmers, it should be clear. Turn the heat down to low, add the vegetable mix, the herb bundle, and salt. Simmer gently for 4 hours. Turn off the heat and let the stock sit for 15 minutes to let any solids fall to the bottom.

Ladle the stock into a sieve lined with cheesecloth (or through a very fine strainer) into a container large enough to hold it (another pot, perhaps). Strain the last few inches of stock at the bottom of the pot into another container in case it has solids in it that would cloud the stock. If it does not, then add it to the main body of the stock.

Let the stock cool and then immediately refrigerate, uncovered, until it is cold. Cover and keep for up to 2 days or freeze in 1- or 2-cup containers for later use.

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