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Make-shift "veal" stock


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Hi,

I live in Japan where veal is prohibitively expensive but I found veal bones at a reasonable price (@ themeatguy if anyone is interested). The problem is that 1 kg of veal meat is 50 USD. That would leave me with meatless stock: good idea or should I supplement with beef or chicken? Do you think buying the veal bones would be a good idea or a waist of effort, I really can't decide.

Cheers,

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the only time I ever made it I used only bones, no meat. Turned out just fine, pretty stinky process though, not quite sure I'll do that again. The stock was great, but since I always end up with chicken bones I usually make chicken stock. The veal bones were not that easy to find.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Most of the flavor comes from the cartilage and connective tissue in the bones. I'd say you go without meat. Just bones. Make a remouillage (steep twice). Reduce. No chicken unless you use the final product with birds. Beef would work in for stronger flavor but then it's not veal stock. I'd use just bones, technique and flavorings.

Edited by Mirdad (log)

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whenever i go to my butcher i get a bag of clean bones - free. (DUCKS INCOMING) usually about 4 bones. i stockpile them and then about every other month make a stock with them, maybe adding in a bit of ox tail or beef shin.

definitely worth doing.

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Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

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Personally, I should think this is a no-brainer, yes? Did I read this right - just over 2 pounds of veal for 50 bucks???

There have been times when I've used a non-parsimonious amount of meat along with bones to make a truly rich stock; see the late, great, tragic Bernard Loiseau's "sacrificial veal", among literally centuries of tradition, as such a sybaritic use of animal flesh has a long history - but I consider my veal stock to be a deep, rich and clean stock with merely bones, aromatics, time and rigorous care(like Mirdad, I use a remouillage).

On the other hand, plenty of folks forego veal stock entirely, using, say, a brown chicken stock for their workhorse carrier mother fond. See Jimmy Schmidt's entertaining story, I think it was, in Michael Ruhlman's wonderful Soul of a Chef.

Basically, plenty of ways to skin a...well, plenty of ways to accomplish a culinary need (though I am almost tragically a traditionalist, and this has been the hardest thing for me to come to terms with).

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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You read that right -- 50 USD for 2.2 pounds of baby cow -- and that's the low end. Veal is just not part of the food culture here, so you have to pay if you want it badly enough.

Honestly, I've never used veal stock. It's come to mind because of some posts I've recently read here, and now I really want to try it. I have four kilos of bones coming Friday, so I'll be working with the stock over the weekend and early next week. One day I'll have to bite my wallet and buy the meat to see what the differences are in flavor but for now I'm going to work with just bones. Any suggestions on what dishes to first apply it?

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In addition to a veal stock, why not go the whole hog (or cow?) and make up a demi-glace? Mind you I just take veal stock, add in a bit of tomato paste and reduce it like mad. The resultant liquid gold brings any sauce to life.

I actually pour the "demi" into jars and pressure cook it to make it shelf stable. Once you open the jar, it can be stored in the fridge.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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You read that right -- 50 USD for 2.2 pounds of baby cow -- and that's the low end. Veal is just not part of the food culture here, so you have to pay if you want it badly enough.

Honestly, I've never used veal stock. It's come to mind because of some posts I've recently read here, and now I really want to try it. I have four kilos of bones coming Friday, so I'll be working with the stock over the weekend and early next week. One day I'll have to bite my wallet and buy the meat to see what the differences are in flavor but for now I'm going to work with just bones. Any suggestions on what dishes to first apply it?

My humble advice is that I think it is probably important to decide what you want from the stock - I know for myself, I use it as a foundational stock for a good many small sauces - most of them, integral sauces from other animals, which I took directly from Thomas Keller's methods. I make and use veal demi-glace for its high collagen content, and its felicitous mix of neutrality and depth - a wonderful carrier and extender of flavors, mouthfeel and layers, without adding a definitive bovine line of taste, as, for instance, with beef stock. Because that's my purpose, I find the collagenous bones, prodigious aromatics, and two sessions of extended simmering (with extremely rigorous attention to skimming, etc., throughout) accomplishing what I set out for with the stock.

Given that, for my purposes, I honestly can find no justification for using veal meat (any longer - I used to use, say, veal breast, to enrich the stock). But that's because of my purpose in using the stock. If for some reason you want it for something other than as a kind of mother-carrier or base for other stock/sauce derivations, then I understand your associated cost.

Just a suggestion, but why not start with a straight up, bones-only veal stock and demi-glace, see if you like it, and play with what uses you can put it to (e.g., the myriad derivative sauces; "small sauces" a la Keller's methods for integral sauces (see his book))? This will give you plenty of experience working with the material, and by tasting, smelling, watching it, working with it with bones only, your experience-points won't be so dearly won. You can always compare with the addition of meat (e.g., breast) once you've worked these sensory and experience aspects down. Just my $0.02.

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Thank you both for the excellent suggestions.

@Paul, can you tell us your recipe for making your stock, the proportion of bones to aeromatics, which aeromatics and how you do the cooking?

Thanks. :smile:

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Oh, there's nothing I have that is not learned from a billion other people - "self-taught" is always a wrong term in my opinion, because we always stand on the shoulders of masters before us, at least when learning principles, anyway, but my brief story is that I began learning French technique as a child, when I worked Jacques Pepin's La Technique cover to cover, and catered dinners accordingly, as a young pre-teen; I've done this since then which, uh, ages me to a near half-century. So I'm saying "my" veal stock is nothing more than an amalgam of many, over the years - so many, a short list would include M. Pepin's (whom I accord the respect and love as a first and kindly "teacher"), Escoffier's, Madeleine Kamman's, many, many others, down to Thomas Keller, from whom, vicariously, I've learned so much over the last several years.

If I could offer anything, that is that care - and I mean, extremely rigorous care, all along the process, from the size of mirepoix cuts to the selection of pot/pan sizes during successive and final reduction periods, and management of heat accordingly - matters more than anything else. A quick for instance, and only one, would be, for me, the necessity of watching your final reduction temps to ensure you are not rocking the demi-glace at too furious a simmer (or moving it to a boil). Others far more schooled than I can chime in, but there is a definitive difference obtained, at least by my senses, between a mother sauce obtained with careful simmering, and one probably rocked too fast; the former has a neutrality and clean sensibility I do seek, the latter can have, not quite a grittiness, but a kind of ... words can be such paltry descriptors... "roasty gumminess" that I try to avoid.

My guess on the science of it, partially informed from a fairly extended, serious foray into brewing (Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh), would be that the faster you heat something by a direct heat (as opposed to, say, by steam jacketing), the more you engineer collisions between sugar-amino complexes, and between these and the local heat interfaces of your pan bottom. Not trying for scientific obfuscation, but my hunch is just that the maillard reactions obtained thus complex in a different way from those made during a slower, gentler simmer - perhaps, in part, solids with a mass exceeding the sensory threshold, so you perceive their "gritty" character? At any rate, such a reduction rate results in a less than pleasant sensory effect. Others more knowledgeable should be able to talk about this more authoritatively.

At any rate, I can only offer my truly humble advice, which is that the techniques and proportions are no secret - the "secret" is in honing your palate, and your hands to match what your palate is teaching. I know for myself, it is the sensuality of cooking that has sustained me, for many decades (even to now, when the likely end of my professional life due to a poor, mis-managed spine comes increasingly home to roost).

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Well, thanks for that Paul.

One question I've looked for an answer for in the courses that maybe you (or others) have an opinion on:

Since to make a good stock requires a long cooking is it better to put a lid on the pot and let the condensation fall back into the pan or does continuously topping off the pot yield the best result?

cheers,

Edited by cteavin (log)
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I've personally always just left the lid off - the concern, if it exists, for loss of aromatic volatiles can be compensated for by more aromatics (though I've never had an issue with it, personally) (keeping in mind that "concentration" is a function of raw materials in, time, and energy applied - you can increase concentration by increased dosing of raw material, longer time on the simmer, or a more intensive heat...but each has a tradeoff).

I leave the lid off, basically, because I skim constantly during the first, intensive period of scum production, and only a bit less intensively than that over the entirety of the stock simmering period. Basically, I freak if I see anything other than a pristine, glassy surface (and depth) to my stockpot.

Another, related, reason to leave the lid off is the difficulty of keeping the barest of simmers going - lid on, and I think you might find a rolling boil far too often, and there goes the quality of your stock.

I suspect, but have no data to back it up, that there are, as well, undesirable aromatics (e.g., sulfurous compounds) that one actually wants to drive off. I borrow this from brewing technique, only, and have no theorizing of the "relative volatility" of desired v. undesired volatiles, hence an argument in this vein for leaving the stock lid off.

Finally, and bear with me (again, only a hunch - I may be completely wrong), but there IS a balance between time and desired aromatics' volatility, hence an argument to be made for whether one does or doesn't want some evaporation in the stock (or mother sauce) simmer itself.

By which I mean, if extraction was all one wanted, one would use a bathtub of liquid for a given amount of solid materials, to maximize the osmotic differential and hence extraction. Once the differential between your solid material and the bathing liquid slows to approaching zero, you won't get much further extraction. All good, if extraction is the only desire.

But then you have to reduce it for days, and not only are you evanescing proportionally more of the more volatile compounds, you are increasingly altering them from their natural state. We do want some of this - maillard reactions, among others (e.g., protein or starch chain structural changes), are a desired goal; but too much, and we may end up with something undesired. I think of vegetal character, something exemplified for me by asparagus cooked to literal death.

Sorry for the side-trip, and I may be complete bollocks. Just an argument, again, for knowing one's goals, experimenting, honing one's palate and re-experimenting accordingly.

All the above, please take it with a serious grain of salt - as with most things, it can get as simple or as complicated as one wants to go (I brewed my first beer from a starter kit my wife gave me about 15 years ago...went insane, built a custom, 2 bbl brewery, and studied malting and brewing through Heriot-Watt...fun; though at the end of the day, beer is, well, beer).

What I am taking a long way to get to saying is that I feel whatever you're doing, simple, or complicated, to achieve a really nice result, what really matters are - ever and always - fundamentals. I'd suggest you just start; as you may find it some time before you're happy with your results (or not!), this is why I'd hate for you to expend on veal meat before having different methods under your experience cache. The other reason is, as with all experiments, that unless you isolate something, and change it over time, you won't know what "variable" gave you your beautifully clear, unctuous fond. Was it your care, your technique - or the addition of prodigious amounts of (très cher) meat?

Happy with your stock, try a demi-glace from Sauce Espagnole; try it as a straight reduction; try it in remouillage, with a strong and a weak stock joining for a final reduction. Have fun.

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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