Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Part Un - Basic Brown Veal Stock

Yesterday, I found myself in a predicament. I was at my favorite Global Foods Market to pick up whole black peppercorns and quail eggs. I was planning on sharing some adorable uses for quail eggs. Guess what? After driving out of my way, they were out of black peppercorns and quail eggs! Did I mention the "Utility Work" sign (left lane closed ahead) and no one was even working!!! That's irritating! So in my pathetic annoyance, I asked someone if they could get veal bones. Why you ask? So did they! It was a low point in my shopping ventures. But I want to make demi-glace. I have to salvage my sense of purpose and make the gas money worth it. I've never made demi-glace and have heard it is the "magic bullet" to amazing food.

The butcher, a rotund guy, said he had to cut some veal up anyway and to wait 15 minutes. I browsed the aisles and it was no later than 10 minutes and I had 5 pounds of freshly cut veal bones! Thanks Global Foods, but they charged me for bones! Shouldn't bones be free? Well, it's day 2 and I'm still working on my demi-glace. I chose to use Anthony Bourdain's version from his Les Halles cookbook. Thomas Keller's was just impractical in my kitchen. Here's what I've done so far:

Basic Brown Veal Stock


5 pounds veal bones
5 quarts water (1 quart of water per pound of bones)
Handful of flour 
Generous dose of tomato paste
Mirepoix (a mix of onions - about 1 cup, carrots -1/2 cup, and celery -1/2 cup)
A few thyme sprigs
Some whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves


According to my Les Halles cookbook, "Take as many veal bones as you can fit into your largest heavy-bottomed pot or pots, wash them in cold water, and dry them.  Lay them out in a lightly oiled roasting pan, no more than two layers deep.  If you want to cheat, as many of us do, throw a wad of tomato paste on top of the bones, sprinkle a handful of flour over them, and mix through.

Place the roasting pan" (I use a rimmed cookie sheet, because I don't have a roasting pan or the room to store one), "in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Roast the bones, turning occasionally to work the tomato paste and flour through the grease. Avoid scorching. You do not want any black color." I roasted mine for about an hour or so.  "While the bones are roasting, assemble the following vegetables in an amount totaling no more than one third the volume of bones."  I listed my amounts above.  "Peel the carrots and onions.  Remove the celery leaves."  "Roughly chop the vegetables into large chunks. Put the vegetables in another oiled roasting pan," (used a small broiling pan) "and roast them, stirring frequently, until evenly browned and caramelized.  Dump the bones and vegetables into the pot or pots," and fill with cold water.  "Add a few sprigs of thyme, some whole black peppercorns, and a couple of bay leaves." 

"Bring up nearly to a boil-BUT NEVER BOIL-then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer slowly for eight to ten hours, occasionally skimming foam, scum, and oil from the top." 

"When done, lift out the bones and strain the liquid through a fine strainer or chinois-or better yet, through cheesecloth draped in a strainer.  Do it as many times as you can stand.  The more the better."

"Now you have a basic brown veal stock."  

No, now I have basic brown veal stock!!!  Next step, make it into demi-glace!

Check back for Part Deux - Demi-Glace!!!

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