November 19, 2012

Restaurant Veal Stock

I can always tell when fall settles in, besides the hundreds of squash and sweet potato recipes that flood the blogosphere, I notice that I tend to start putting stuffed roasted meats on the menu.

I do not know what possessed me but I ordered a breast of veal from the butcher. I think I have made this cut of meat once about 20 years ago and the only reason why I could think I did that was because of a recipe I must have seen or a cooking show.

Although The Nudge loves veal, we rarely wander off the scaloppine trail and dabble in other cuts. I am not sure why, veal has a great flavor and I have had veal chops, I remember till today, unlike that stuffed breast.
I am a little intimidated by this cut, it isn't cheap (I forgot to ask) and I would hate to ruin it using the wrong stuffing. First thing, though, I have to find a recipe for veal sauce which will inevitably start with a good brown veal stock. For inspiration I always turn to Wolfgang Puck for great Cooking 101.

Until I open his cookbook, I forget how he makes quality restaurant-style dishes easy for the amateur cook. I should spend more time with him. Classically trained there are a few techniques that require time, but mostly because of knife work and stock making but nowadays we can purchase pretty good stocks and broths and even pre-cut up aromatics.

Since I am making this dish a big deal, I asked the butcher for the breast to be cut off the rib cage and the ribs chopped into manageable pieces so I can make the stock. This is definitely a Sunday affair but the stock can be started ahead when you find a few hours to roast the bones and vegetables. While the breast is roasting the stock can be simmered and while the breast is resting, the gravy can be made.

Brown Veal Stock 
adapted from Adventures in the Kitchen, Wolfgang Puck, 1991
makes 1 quart
  • 4 pounds veal bones, cut into 2" chunks
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, quartered or 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 cups water
1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
2. Arrange the bones in a roasting pan, large enough to hold them in a single layer. Roast in the oven until dark golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours, turning to brown on all sides. After one hour add the remaining ingredients to brown. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot, 10 quarts.
3. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan and deglaze the pan with 2 cups water, scraping up any particles that stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour into the stockpot with enough additional water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches, Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, 4-6 hours, skimming the foam as it accumulates on top, and adding water as needed to keep the bones and vegetables covered at all times.
4. Strain the liquid into a clean pot, pressing down to extract all the juices. Reduce, over medium heat, until 1 quart remains.
5. Cool and refrigerate in a covered container up to 3 days, discarding any hardened layer of fat before using or freezing.

This could not have been any easier to make. It is time consuming but it requires no effort on your part. It sits on the stove for hours, you cool, drain and put in the fridge.
I forgot how good homemade stock can be, and I think I will do this more often.

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