How to Make Homemade Veal Stock:
1. Assemble your ingredients:
For veal stock you will need:
Vegetables: usually a blend of carrots, onions, and celery (aka mirepoix)
A bouquet garni or sachet
Tomato paste (if making brown stock)
Veal bones (use veal marrow bones for a richer stock, veal mixed bones for a leaner stock, or try blending both).
The proportion used by many commercial kitchens is one pound of mirepoix and five quarts of water for every five pounds of bones.
2. Prepare your ingredients:
Wash your vegetables. Chop them into pieces that are of roughly equivalent size.
3. Roast your veal bones (if making brown stock)
Lay your veal bones in a single layer in either a roasting pan (best) or a sheet tray/pan. Place in a 375 degree oven for about an hour until they are nicely browned. Some chefs oil the bones first to promote better browning. Near the end of the roast, add a small amount of tomato paste (perhaps a couple of tablespoons per 5lbs of bones) to the pan. This is called pincer in the French culinary tradition. Toss the bones in the pan with tongs to try to distribute the paste as evenly as possible, then return them to the stove to finish roasting. The paste will add color and help extract things through the tomato’s acidity. Remove the bones from the pan and transfer them to your stockpot.
4. Fill the pot with cold water and the bones and bring to a simmer:
Skim often at this stage. Once the water has reached a simmer, back off on the heat in order to keep it there. If making white veal stock, drain off the blanching water and replace with with fresh water, returning it to a simmer.
5. Brown your vegetables (if making brown stock)
While the stock pot is coming to a simmer, brown your vegetables in remaining veal fat in the roasting pan. Be sure to stir occasionally so they brown without burning.
6a. (Brown Stock)
Put roasted vegetables, fond, and sachet in the stock pot:
Once the vegetables are sufficiently browned, add them to the stock pot. Deglaze the fond from the roasting pan with water and add it to the stockpot too along with your bouquet garni/sachet. Some chefs add the tomato paste at this stage instead of putting it in the roasting pan on the bones.
6b. (White Stock)
Add raw vegetables and sachet to the stock pot:
Add the raw chopped vegetables and sachet/bouquet garni directly to the simmering water with the veal bones.
7. Simmer 6 to 8 hours:
Longer is better, and in fact many restaurants simmer their veal stocks over night. Be sure to skim as often as you can without losing your sanity. It’s more important to do this near the beginning of the simmer than near the end.
8. Strain and drop your stock:
Strain your stock through the finest strainer you’ve got (with cheesecloth added if necessary) and quickly reduce the temperature (“drop”) through the use of an ice water bath. Dropping your stock is particularly important with bone-based stocks for safety reasons. For further explanation of stock dropping, refer to the cardinal rules of stock making.
9. Store until ready to use
Stocks store in the fridge for about 2-3 days refrigerated (assuming you dropped them correctly) and will freeze wonderfully for several months.
What is a fat cap?
Your stock may develop a “fat cap” while being stored. This layer of fat floating upon your stock is actually a very good thing. For starters, it helps your stock’s preservation (as in duck confit, bacteria don’t like fat) and secondly if all the fat’s solid and on top, it’s very easy to extract from your stock when the time comes to use it.
What is the difference between brown veal stock and white veal stock?
Brown veal stock is a little more involved than homemade chicken stock, but in some ways can be even more rewarding. Its flavor is very robust, and lends itself to many classic French sauces and soups.
White veal stock is less common, but a favorite of chefs looking for a milder, cleaner veal stock flavor and a color that is clear enough to avoid coloring sauces and soups.
What to do with brown veal stock:
The easiest way to turn you brown veal stock into a meal is probably French Onion Soup. Slowly caramelize onions in butter (this will take about 30 minutes), deglaze the pan with your homemade brown veal stock, and season with salt & pepper. This soup is traditionally served in small crocks topped with baguette slices and an excellent gruyere cheese. Broil or torch the top to melt and color the cheese right before you put it on the table.
Brown veal stock is also an important ingredient in many classical French dark sauces like sauce espagnole. If you carefully reduce your brown veal stock until thick it will become veal demi-glace, another ingredient common in French recipes. (How to Make Veal Demi, Buy Quality Premade Demi-Glace)
What to do with white veal stock:
White veal stock is extremely versatile, you can use it as you would chicken stock in soups, sauces, homemade risotto, stews or braised dishes. We used white veal stock in our Turtle Soup Recipe.