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Veal Stock -- a personal reflection

182 posts in this topic

I haven't thought about city chicken in years. It was one of my all time favorites. My mom made it with pork and veal mooshed together on a popsicle stick. Maybe it's time for a come back?

Sounds like a theme for a new fastfood chain. Probably be good too.


"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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Tim, you can find veal knuckles at Straub's and, I think, Whole Foods, and perhaps the Ladue market.  It's labeled osso buco and priced accordingly.  To make stock from it, you'd have to resemble the Gilded Age millionaire, I think it was J.P. Morgan, who when asked the price of his yacht responded "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it."

Joan,

I have also purchased osso buco at Dierberg's and DiGregorios. These are veal shanks with meat and marrow attached and cost $8 per pound or more. That marrow is worth the price but it is not a veal knuckle.

Veal knuckles are knee caps/joints, with no meat and cost $1.50 to $2 per pound. You take these home and split then in quarters or ask your butcher.

Tim


Edited by tim (log)

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Tim, you can find veal knuckles at Straub's and, I think, Whole Foods, and perhaps the Ladue market.  It's labeled osso buco and priced accordingly.  To make stock from it, you'd have to resemble the Gilded Age millionaire, I think it was J.P. Morgan, who when asked the price of his yacht responded "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it."

Joan,

I have also purchased osso buco at Dierberg's and DiGregorios. These are veal shanks with meat and marrow attached and cost $8 per pound or more. That marrow is worth the price but it is not a veal knuckle.

Veal knuckles are knee caps/joints, with no meat and cost $1.50 to $2 per pound. You take these home and split then in quarters or ask your butcher.

Tim

I stopped into my local Fortino's (which is part of the Loblaws chain here in Southern Ontario) today and asked if they had veal bones. The first response was no, so when I asked them what they did with the other ends of the osso bucco they had in their display case - she said they threw them out. With a little persuasion she put me on her special order list. By the time I arrived home she had called to say they had some for me.

I went back this evening and left with about 20 lbs of nice veal knuckles. Since they weren't charging me for them and since the butcher wasn't in attendance at the time, I brought them home whole.

So Tim - what equipment do you use to split them into quarters?

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That doesn't make any sense.  It doesn't matter which states produce the veal.  It matters who is selling veal. 

Yeah, I mean if there's a critical mass of people who want to buy something, it doesn't really matter where that is. It's easy enough to put veal sides or subprimals on a truck and take them anywhere in the continental United States. But what I've noticed, traveling around and looking in supermarkets, is that in some regions of the country there are whole categories of meat that are simply absent from the display cases because consumers just won't buy enough to make it worth keeping that stuff in stock. In a lot of places, it's just beef, pork, chicken and the occasional turkey. You don't see any veal, lamb, duck or anything else. So in a place like that, the occasional upscale market that does have a little veal or lamb is likely going to get it as portioned cuts, not subprimals and certainly not sides.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, Tim, I phoned DiGregorio and asked if they had veal knuckles left over after they cut the osso buco. Turned out they had 7 1/2 pounds, at $6.90 a pound. Dierberg has veal breast, which must be special-ordered, at $2.90 a pound.

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I went back this evening and left with about 20 lbs of nice veal knuckles.  Since they weren't charging me for them and since the butcher wasn't in attendance at the time, I brought them home whole. 

So Tim - what equipment do you use to split them into quarters?

Kerry,

You are a very lucky man. I would take about half of those knuckles and cryovac and freeze them for the future. The rest will make an enormous amount of demi-glace.

I have used a heavy cheap cleaver to split knuckles. The bones really do a job on the edge of a cleaver, don't get out your Nenox for this job.

I have better luck with my bone saw. Go to your hardware store an buy a blade (about $1.50 each) that fits a standard hacksaw. The blades list their uses and you will see a tri-metal blade that includes bones. Get the coarsest blade that is used for bones.

I visited with a butcher in St. Louis this afternoon after spotting a full CALF SHOULDER CLOD. I asked if their was a processor who broke down veal in St. Louis. He said, "Nobody breaks down veal in St. Louis. I have to ship this from Chicago."

Sadly, Steven has it right. We midwesterners have to suffer with lousy supplies of fish and other non-local exotics. We do get nice fresh soybeans.

Tim

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When I first started buying veal knuckle bones about 25 years ago I had never even heard of veal stock. I had just gotten my first dog (my parents allowed fish and parakeets only) and the dog books said no bones for pups except for raw veal knuckles. Note to Joan: totally irrelevant to anyone else, but she was a German Shepherd and loyal like nobody's business. Veal knuckles were cheap and didn't seem hard to find. I didn't know osso buco from a hole in the wall and hadn't a clue that the knuckle bones were the scraps from some haute shank. I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't even know then that veal was baby cow.

Then I started cooking. The German Shepherd died and I discovered that all kinds of bones--including veal knuckles--could be added to various stocks. My next dog was an optimist and didn't know what she was missing. I learned to make veal shanks and they were delicious.

Once upon a time bones were used for stock because they were inedible, cheap and available. Veal stock may indeed be a great addition to traditional french sauces or perhaps even provide the basis for a plate of foam on the coast of Spain, but this thread has pretty much lead me to the realization that I will not be seeking out veal knuckle bones for veal stock, and if one does cross my path I might just throw it to the dog. She's a cheerful Aussie and just about the best dog on the planet. She deserves it.

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Tim, perhaps we should start a thread on the joys and sorrows of food, restaurants and ingredients, in a small not-too-sophisticated Midwestern city.

Think of the dubious joys of "toasted" (deep fried) ravioli, and something I've heard rumors of -- a deep-fried Snickers bar!

And trying not to barf when friends describe one as a "gourmet" cook. My Cleveland sister-in-law used to do that when I lived in New York; I always wondered whether it was disguised hostility.

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Well, being anal-compulsive I did manage to finally obtain 10 pounds of veal knuckles. Don't ask me what I paid for them; the mind boggles. I now realize that if I follow the Elements of Cooking recipe, I'm supposed to put 10 pounds of veal bones, plus 10 quarts of water -- is my math off, or is that 30 pounds? -- in a pot in my oven. Come on now! The stove is a Blue Star with the oven underneath the burners. I can just see me now lifting the damn thing into the oven, and then removing the giant hot pot when it's finished. I'm not that large, nor that strong, nor quite that stupid. Ruhlman may be translating chefs recipes for the home kitchen, but are his suggestions only for cooks who are six feet tall, and mostly muscle? (Not to mention that in his list of essential cookware, he does not mention a pot large enough to hold all of this.) Okay, I've assembled everything, and I'll put it on the stove, and use a ladle to decant. But it seems to me that Ruhlman's translations for the home kitchen and cook are off. Yes, if you live in a large city with wonderful butchers; yes if you have on the premises a large man strong enough to sling around 30 pounds of hot stock. Perhaps yes, if you possess a waist-high oven.

I'm half-way through the book now. It contains useful information, but I must say, I feel as though I'm back in school and am about to get an exam on the contents any minute now. It's just not fun to read, as for example is Roast Chicken and Other Stories.

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Tim, perhaps we should start a thread on the joys and sorrows of food, restaurants and ingredients, in a small not-too-sophisticated Midwestern city.

Joan,

I think we should offer to exchange rare local gourmet foods with the New York City crowd.

We'll ship them Provel cheese and they can ship us veal knuckles! Steve should jump at that opportunity.

Tim

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I posted this recently on donrockwell.com:

Bonz:

t_Bonzm_d25903a.jpg

Veal Stock in Christmas Colors:

t_vealstockinm_a2d627c.jpg

Meat Jello:

t_meatjellom_9b30318.jpg

I made a wild mushroom sauce for our hanger steaks: saute mushrooms & shallots, then add thyme, s&p, demiglace, and a little extra veal stock, reduce, then finish with butter. It was the perfect example of what Michael Ruhlman talks about in his essay on veal stock in The Elements of Cooking. The demi gave it a depth of flavor that lifted it above an ordinary pan sauce, and the mouthfeel was amazing. It's absolutely worth the time, money, and effort to get results like that.

The Washington Post's Chef on Call article last Wednesday features a recipe for Roasted Veal Loin with Black Truffle Madeira Sauce. The body of article lists the steps to make the sauce as "[m]ake a meat essence, add a wine reduction, thicken with butter" and the recipe calls for a chicken stock. It's probably tasty as written, but a good veal stock would send it off the charts.

And I am not six feet tall, do not have a waist-high oven, and don't have bulging muscles. The recipe halves quite nicely. As far as being fun to read - I thought it was fun, but I'm probably not normal . YMMV.


Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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My New Year's resolution is to find veal knuckles in Charleston, WV. Wish me luck. I will be in Chicago next month (with any luck) so if I strike out here, I'll look there.

I'm short and out of shape, but regularly haul 20+ lb. enameled cast iron pots in and out of my oven. A few months ago I cooked for a large crowd and had 15 lbs. of chuck, 3 bottles of wine, etc. in an obscenely large pan that I had to schlepp by myself in and out of a low oven. It weighed close to 50 lbs. That wasn't fun but it makes 30 lbs seem better. A large turkey in a roasting pan will be 20+ lbs. It's unwieldy, but not that bad.

And as stated above, you can halve the recipe.

FWIW, I am thoroughly enjoying Elements.

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I think that MR would be delighted with your success, your colorful photos, and your own delight at the success of the recipe.

Thanks! I actually used the recipe for white veal stock from The French Laundry.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I looked for veal bones in several places in central New York, where I live.

My local supermarket, Price Chopper, laughed.

Our nearest Wegman's shook their heads.

I tried at a small grocery store here that's known for their meats. No dice.

As a last-ditch effort, I tried the German butcher in the big city. They could do osso buco, at $12/lb as a special order. (No thanks.) But they also said that I might have better luck in Utica. Apparently, all the veal slaughterhouses in this area are in Utica. The butcher I spoke with mentioned a Polish butcher somewhere in Utica, a place that's been there forever and whose name I can't remember. I may actually get to Utica next week, and it should be cold enough that I'll have no trouble keeping meat cold in the back of the car.

I'd like to try making veal stock, but the raw ingredients are far from a sure bet here.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Well I tried the Missouri Beef Council.  I'm learning a lot.  Turns out dairy states produce veal, because they take the calves off to get milk.  Missouri does not produce veal so, the nice lady at the Beef Council said, veal is a special order product in Saint Louis. 

Okay, that's it!  Unless someone wants to ship me ten pounds of refrigerated bones -- fat chance! -- veal stock is off the wish list.

That doesn't make any sense. It doesn't matter which states produce the veal. It matters who is selling veal. I mean, we can get beef bones up the wazoo in NYC, and New York isn't a beef-producing state.

If butchers in St. Louis are selling veal, then there are surely veal bones to be had. Unless every butcher in the area is getting its veal pre-cut and pre-packaged with no bones, there will be bones that have to be dealt with when they break the veal down for sale. Since these bones are generally considered a waste product (unless they're selling the bones to restaurants or companies that use them for stock) they shouldn't be too terribly expensive. I suppose it's possible that there are no real butchers actually cutting meat in the St. Louis area, and that veal is therefore extremely hard to come by. But I have a hard time believing there aren't at least a couple of butchers or meat packagers in the metro-St. Louis area who aren't breaking down whole veal for the trade.

MelissaH,Dec 5 2007, 01:55 PM

I looked for veal bones in several places in central New York, where I live.

My local supermarket, Price Chopper, laughed.

Our nearest Wegman's shook their heads.

I tried at a small grocery store here that's known for their meats. No dice.

As a last-ditch effort, I tried the German butcher in the big city. They could do osso buco, at $12/lb as a special order. (No thanks.) But they also said that I might have better luck in Utica. Apparently, all the veal slaughterhouses in this area are in Utica. The butcher I spoke with mentioned a Polish butcher somewhere in Utica, a place that's been there forever and whose name I can't remember. I may actually get to Utica next week, and it should be cold enough that I'll have no trouble keeping meat cold in the back of the car.

I'd like to try making veal stock, but the raw ingredients are far from a sure bet here.

MelissaH

Sam,

Where are all of these New York City supplier of Veal bones??? Melissa needs your help.

Tim

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Well, I made it, it's in the freezer. It was such a big production I don't know if I'll ever want to touch the precious stuff again! I think Ruhlman might have mentioned the fact that the home cook might think about halving the recipe. Being a literal type, it just didn't occur to me until I was faced with all those bones and the enormous pot that held them. (Another thing R. did not mention in his list of equipment was another pot large enough to decant the liquid into. And something to hold the bones.) He seems to be thinking in terms of restaurant equipment, despite supposedly talking to the home cook.

And yes, Tim, we can send New York provel cheese and toasted ravioli, and if someone comes up with something really terrific to trade -- say truffles or an entire fois gras --we might send them some deep-fried Snickers bars!

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I called the local butcher. He told me that the last time he had veal in stock, he had to throw a bunch of it out because nobody was buying it. (I bet he took it home!) I asked if he could order "10 pounds of meaty veal bones and joints (knuckles, breast, shank)", and he chuckled.

Chuckled! :huh:

He said that he could get some veal bones for me at between $4 and $5 per pound, then he did an about face and said he really didn't want to do that.

Did I mention I live in a culinary wasteland?

Looks like I won't be making any of Ruhlman's world-famous Basic Brown Veal Stock in the near future.

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Did I mention I live in a culinary wasteland?

I think that Michael would probably be very happy to know that there are scores of people badgering their butchers for veal parts. Supply, demand, and all that. It works, too: thanks to the jones he fueled with Charcuterie, my local Whole Foods has sausage casings and pork bellies available (if you know the secret handshake).


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Sam,

Where are all of these New York City supplier of Veal bones???  Melissa needs your help.

Tim

Off the top of my head, I'd try one of the Western Beef outlets; perhaps Big Apple Meats; any one of a dozen Chinese meat shops in Chinatown (these often sell bags of chicken bones for making stock); or any one of the dozen or so full-service butchers (my local is Oppenheimer Prime Meats). Might not hurt to check with Whole Foods either.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Here in Maine, at least at the moment, there are a fair number of dairy cattle and thus, apparently, some access to veal. My local grocery store doesn't have it all the time, but quite regularly has inexpensive veal stew with bones and what they call "blade chops" that work well enough for stock.

Personally, I find veal stock - when I have it - a terrific boost to the quality of my home cooking. Any recipe where I've used it tastes distinctly better, not just to me, but to everyone who tries it.

Also, I'm pretty sure that I read in Elements that Ruhlman says if you don't have stock, it's better to use water than other, lesser "substitutes" - I think this is an important point that's gotten lost in the discussion. Just about everyone has access to water, and it's worth trying that for its own merits. I've done this recently in places where I would have often used whatever "stock" I had on hand, and water has worked extremely well.


Edited by violetfox (log)

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Same places I'd recommend for meat: Florence Prime Meats (corner of Jones and w. 4th), and Otomanelli (corner of bleeker and jones). A block apart. I generally go to Florence for beef, Otomanelli for specialty meats (heritage pork, etc.).

Both have higher quality and better prices than the butchers in the good grocery stores (Jefferson Market, Whole Foods, Citarella, etc. etc.). Quality is probably not quite at the Lobels level, but prices are nowhere near theirs either.

Last weekend I bought 6lbs of veal knuckles, 6lbs of beef knuckles, and 5lbs of beef chuck and trimmings for a total of just over $50. I think the veal bones were $2/lb; the beef $1.50. The resulting demi/jus de boeuf should last at least 6 months. $9/month seems like a pretty good price for all the ensuing deliciousness (assuming, as my employer does, that my time isn't worth much).

Sam,

Where are all of these New York City supplier of Veal bones???  Melissa needs your help.

Tim

Off the top of my head, I'd try one of the Western Beef outlets; perhaps Big Apple Meats; any one of a dozen Chinese meat shops in Chinatown (these often sell bags of chicken bones for making stock); or any one of the dozen or so full-service butchers (my local is Oppenheimer Prime Meats). Might not hurt to check with Whole Foods either.

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I called Pulaski Meat Market, the Polish butcher in Utica. They don't carry any veal, so they don't have veal bones. I haven't tried looking up any of the slaughterhouses directly. (I suspect they probably don't deal directly with consumers very often, at any rate.)

Where do the veal bones that show up in NYC come from?

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Tonight, I made a small pot of Butternut Squash Soup. In it I used 4 c of chicken stock and 2 c veal stock to about 3 not quite 4 # of roasted squash. Salt, white pepper, and some thyme.

I've done this many times with chicken stock but this was the first using veal. The texture was incredible and the squash taste was so intensely clean. Wow, now I see what he was driving at.

I've made MR recipe 2 times and one from Renee' Verdon's "French Cooking For the American Table"(1974) They are similar but different. I don't know which I like better but I do know I like Veal Stock.

I've read this whole thing now and the part I've learned is ther are a lot of opinions and that In two weeks when I'm at our farms in Boonville MO, I had better have brought what I want with me.


Robert

Seattle

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I know this is kind of an old thread, but I'm hoping some past participants who've made Ruhlman's veal stock will still be around.

I've got 25 pounds of bones coming to me tomorrow, and I'm going to make this stock. In reviewing Ruhlman's recipe, he says that starting with 10 pounds of bones & 10 quarts water, you end up with 2 quarts of stock. Is that correct?

Past experience with beef & chicken stock made in the Ruhlman fashion leaves me with WAY more stock than 2 quarts. I understand that the veal stock cooks for 8 to 12 hours, but even so, at that low of temperature, I don't see that much stock cooking off. Sure, some will cook off... but 8 quarts? At 180 degrees, not even a simmer?

Also, I can't see that 2 quarts would even cover the ten pounds of bones and veggies at the end of the cooking time.

So... am I missing something, or is the "2 quarts finished veal stock" incorrect?

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