Stock is the magic in the kitchen; it’s the process of turning waste in to wealth. You have your fish and chicken stocks which are the nice little quaint ones that dance around on their tip-toes delicately displaying their dainty flavour profiles. Imagine them to be the Enya of the stock world.
Now let’s bring in some heavy grungy rock and forthrightly introduce the big boy of the stock world – veal. This stock swans around grunting and growling letting all and sundry know that if he’s on your plate he will steal the show.
For all the grace and finesse of the French they do love to let their Gallic hair down and get serious with some really big flavour; and our veal stock will do this in spades. He may initially seem just a step up in flavour from monsieur poulet, but get him bubbling and simmering for a while and he turns in to demi-glace, a blindingly meaty, complex and startlingly fine sauce base. If you want to turn him into some thrash metal god that will do to your taste buds what the music will to your ears and head then reduce him further and you’ve got the king; the glace.
For all its bravado however, leaving the veal stock unreduced highlights its versatility as it delivers finesse and subtlety, especially in fish sauces. The veal stock here can be used for gentle sauces or reduced down to a demi-glace or glace.
- ■ 2kg veal bones | Cut into 10-15cm pieces.
- ■ 2 carrots | Peeled and sliced.
- ■ 2 brown onions | Peeled and roughly chopped.
- ■ 125ml white wine | I used a pinot grigio – but a nice light, dry and fragrant wine is good.
- ■ 2 celery stalks | Finely sliced.
- ■ 60g Swiss brown mushrooms | Finely sliced.
- ■ 1 small leek | Use the outer layer for the bouquet garni below. Finely slice the white part.
- ■ 1 clove garlic |
- ■ 400ml tomatoes | A tin of diced tomatoes is good. Otherwise use 6 medium ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped).
- ■ 1 bouquet garni | See below for recipe link.
Preheat oven to 230 deg C (450 deg F). Put the veal bones in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, turning occasionally so that the bones are browned all over. Now put the carrots and onions in with the bones and roast for a further 10 minutes.
Transfer the bones, carrots and onions in to a stock pot. Deglaze the roasting tin with the white wine ensuring that all those dark crusty bits (the flavoursome ones) are lifted from the tin. Pour the deglazed wine and juices into the stock pot. Now add 4 litres of cold water to the stock pot and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and skim any foamy scum that rises to the surface. The best way to do this is to take a small ladle or tablespoon, swirl the water until the foam moves outwards and then skim. When the water is clear add the celery, mushrooms, leek, garlic, tomatoes and bouquet garni. Bring back to the boil and then put on a very low simmer for 3 hours, leaving the pot uncovered.
When the three hours are up strain the stock through a fine sieve and then allow it to cool. Put the stock in the fridge overnight. The fat will solidify and rise to the surface. Strain the stock through a sieve lined with muslin cloth to remove all of the fat.
Recipe for bouquet garni is here.
■ The stock keeps for about a week in the fridge; otherwise freeze in portions. ■ Reduce the strained stock by one third for a demi-glace. ■ Reduce the strained stock by one half for a glace.