Veal Sauce Base

If you have the time, pots and inclination this dark sauce base is invaluable. Like stock it freezes well. Mixed with roasting juices of duck or beef it makes a good vehicle for quite complex flavours. It is made in two stages, preferably on separate days. Initially you make a good stock from bones. The next day you convert this stock into a more full-bodied sauce base. Don’t put any salt in either stock or sauce base.

Ingredients

Stage 1

  • 2 lb (900 g) veal bones, cut into 2 in (5 cm) pieces
  • 8 oz (225 g) coarsely cut mixture of onion, leeks and carrot
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil

Stage 2

  • 8 oz (225 g) shin of beef, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) red wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Stage 1

  1. Roast the bones in a hot oven – 450°F (230°C) Gas 8 – until brown, probably 30 minutes.
  2. Pan-fry the vegetables in groundnut oil until coloured.
  3. Lift the bones and vegetables into a clean pot. Discard any fat from the roasting tray. Pour in a pint (600 ml) cold water and bring it to the boil to deglaze. Pour this and a further 3 pints (1.65 litres) of water over the bones and vegetables and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat so that the stock simmers and cooks slowly for 4 hours. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface as scum, and top up the stock with water periodically so that you still end up with 4 pints (2.25 litres) of liquid.
  5. Decant the stock into a container and discard the bones and vegetables which remain. Allow this to cool. When cold, refrigerate until you are ready to embark on Stage 2. Any fat or grease which is in the stock will rise to the surface during this time and solidify. Lift this away.

Stage 2

  • Bring the stock back to the boil.
  • Pan-fry the beef, onion and garlic separately, then add the tomato purée.
  • Pour the wine on to the beef and let it boil almost to nothing. Add the contents of the pan to the stock, along with the sugar and pepper.
  • Simmer for 2 hours. Let it reduce by half, adding a little cold water from time to time to bring impurities to the surface for you to skim off.
  • Strain the sauce base through fine muslin, discarding the beef and vegetables, and allow to set. Use as required.
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