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~ Veal Stock = Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary ~

PICT2693"We are all in this food world together", is how I end every blog post and cooking class.  It's my signature mantra and they are kind and gentle words I take to heart and try to live by.  It's my way of expressing to readers and students that as far as food is concerned, while I am here to share and teach, I am also willing to listen to interesting new ideas and learn innovative new techniques from anyone.  While I have set very high standards for myself (and am my own worst critic), I rarely take issue with anyones culinary point of view, unless it is completely ridiculous, and even then, I avoid any verbal confrontation with them personally.  I simply rant and rave about it in the privacy of my own kitchen... and, for the first time, right here on my blog!

Culinarily:  Beef stock is not a substitute for veal stock!!!

009-01While beef and veal come from the same animal, veal and beef stock are two different products.  They don't smell the same, they don't taste the same, and culinarily, they are used in different applications.  Let me go on to say:  Veal stock was the basic stock used in professional kitchens during the 19th and 20th centuries. Besides adding a deep, subtle, neutral flavor to many dishes, it is an excellent base for many sauces.  There are two types of veal stock, white and brown, with the only difference between them being:  the ingredients for brown veal stock are roasted in the oven  prior to simmering the stock and tomato products are used in its preparation. Unfortunately, because of the expense of veal, many cooks have misguidedly replaced it with beef stock when an acceptable method of making inexpensive veal stock with just veal bones is available to them (and I have no ax to grind with those who make their stock with bones).  That being said, veal bones, in the quantity necessary to make stock, aren't always available to home cooks unless you are related to your butcher!

PICT2693Historically, the first recorded stocks were exclusively by-products of poached meat, poultry, fish and/or vegetables, and, a stock made with a large proportion of meat in it will have magnificent flavor.  The challenge for a restaurant chef, who requires large quantities of stock, is to get maximum flavor with minimum expense, which is why the veal bone approach is quite practical for them (because restaurant kitchens have a lot of veal bones at their disposal).  That being said, while the bones supply gelatin to the any stock, any stock made with bones alone simply will not have the depth of one made with meat.  Like some restaurant chef's, I justify making my veal stock with meat and bones (veal shanks) by using the cooked meat to make ravioli filling, risotto, and lasagna!

Veal stock is simple to make!

Veal stock is refined and rich, velvety and versatile!

Veal stock is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary dishes!

There's more good news, since veal stock is a component ingredient in prepared dishes, you don't need to make a lot of it.  A little goes a long way.  My recipe makes 2 quarts and I freeze it in 1- or 2-cup size containers to have on hand all year long.  I'm making white veal stock today:

PICT26883  pounds small veal shanks

3  quarts water

12  ounces peeled yellow onion

6  ounces peeled carrots

6  ounces celery

3  large, peeled garlic cloves

1/2  ounce fresh thyme sprigs

1  tablespoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper

PICT2690~ Step 1.  Place all ingredients in an 8-quart stockpot, except for the white pepper.  Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, and using a skimmer, remove all of the white foam as it collects on top.  This process will take about 10 minutes.  Note:  If you had added the pepper, it would have collected in the foam and you'd be discarding it too!

PICT2690~ Step 2.  After you're done removing foam, remove the thyme. It will be limp and losing its bright green color. This herb has done its job.  The result will be a stock that is lightly and pleasantly flavored by it, rather than overpowered by it.  Add the white pepper.  Reduce heat to simmer gently, partially covered, for 3 hours.  Remove from heat, cover and allow to steep for 3 hours.

PICT2691Note:  The stock will be reduced by about one-third and the meat will be falling off the bones.






~ Step 3.    Using a large slotted spoon, transfer veal shanks to a platter or bowl.  Set aside.  Remove and discard the vegetables, with the exception of the carrots... I eat them with just a bit of salt and pepper.  I'm not going to lie, I savor a few bits of the decadent veal too!

~ Step 4.  Using your fingertips, pull the meat from the fat, placing it in a food storage container as you work. To reserve the marrow, scoop it from the center of each shank bone and place it in a separate container.

PICT2692~ Step 5.  Ladle the stock into a fat/lean separator.  Pour the stock from the separator, through a mesh strainer, into the desired-sized food storage containers, leaving about 1/2" of headspace at the top of each container to allow for expansion if you are freezing the stock.  Discard fat from separator.  Repeat this process until all stock has been separated and strained.  Use stock and veal as directed in recipe. Refrigerate overnight and/or freeze.

Note:  When properly prepared, veal stock, after refrigeration, will be gelatinous and spoonable: 

PICT2690Veal Stock = Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary:  Recipe yields about 2 quarts veal stock, 3 cups veal meat, and 1/2 cup veal marrow.

Special Equipment List:  8-quart stockpot w/lid; cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; skimmer; soup ladle; fat/lean separator; fine mesh strainer; desired-sized food storage containers, preferably glass

PICT2688Cook's Note:  This is the veal stock section of my freezer.  I make both white and brown veal stock and use meat in both preparations, which are pictured here.  My brown veal stock recipe, will be a future post, so stay tuned!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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