Veal or Beef Stock and Jus

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    4.5–5.5 litres

Appears in

This stock is a base to a lot of cooking, and really holds the essence of a good dish. Reading this recipe may well make you want to think twice about it, but it is worth making and so satisfying once made. It will give you great sauces and, of course, will store well in your freezer, so go on, have a go! It is best started in the morning, which will allow the stock to cook throughout the day.

If this really is too much, then a lot of good gravy bases can be found but do use them carefully, not making them too thick and strong. (For information on ready-made alternatives.)

Ingredients

  • 3 onions, halved
  • 2–3 tablespoons water
  • 2.25 kg (5 lb) veal or beef bones
  • 225 g (8 oz) veal or beef trimmings from the butcher
  • 225 g (8 oz) carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 3–4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 110°C/225°F/gas ¼–½. Lay the onion halves flat in a roasting tray with the water. Place the onion into the very cool oven and allow to slowly caramelize until they have totally softened and coloured. This process will take 1–2 hours. The sugars in the onions will slowly cook and give a wonderful taste. Pop the onions into a large stock pot and leave on one side. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F/ gas 6.

Place all the bones and trimmings in a roasting tray and roast for about 30 minutes until well coloured. Roast the chopped carrots and celery in another roasting tray for about 20 minutes until lightly coloured.

When ready, add the bones, trimmings and vegetables to the onions in the pot, along with the leeks, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Fill the pot with cold water – you’ll need about 5.5–6.5 litres (10–12 pints). Bring the stock to the simmer and skim off any impurities. Allow to cook for 6–8 hours, and with this you will achieve the maximum taste. If it seems to be reducing too quickly during cooking, top up with cold water.

When ready, drain and discard the bones and vegetables. This is now your veal stock, and you can cool it and freeze it in convenient quantities.

Or you can make a veal jus with the stock. Allow the liquid to boil and reduce down to 600 ml1.2 litres (1–2 pints), skimming all the time. The stock should be thick and of a sauce consistency. Make sure that you taste all the time during reduction. If the sauce tastes right but is not thick enough, thicken it lightly with cornflour. (Of course, I do hope that won’t be necessary!) You now have a veal jus, a classic sauce.

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