Sunday, April 20, 2008

Veal Stock

I promised a long time ago that I'd do a post on veal stock, and I apologize that it's taken me this long to get to it. See, here's the deal: I have a small kitchen with a small sink. I like to make veal stock in large quantities, which requires large stock pots... which means the weather has to be nice because I have to take those pots outside and wash them using a garden hose because they don't fit in the sink. And, because I enjoy a clean and relatively sanitary space in which to clean these pots, it means I have to clean up the area where my garden hose is, oh and by the way, it has to be above 32 degrees Fahrenheit because the hose can't be hooked up when it's too cold, and I hate being outside in the cold anyway to wash those pots, so there you have it. Also? I had a freezer full of veal stock from the last time I made it, so I needed to use that before I made more.

And so I did.

And here we are.

Many of the dishes I've done as part of French Laundry at Home used veal stock -- whether in a braise, a reduction, a sauce, or some other form.

And now, today, at this very moment, you get to see how it's done.

Aren't you lucky?

But before we do that, let me blather on a little more about veal stock.

When Michael Ruhlman published The Elements of Cooking, he spent a lot of time in interviews talking about veal stock (he actually wrote an essay about veal stock for the book, and called it "the home cook's most valuable ingredient"). It's something I paid attention to, because prior to cracking open The French Laundry Cookbook, I don't think I really thought about a) whether or not veal stock existed, and b) that it really is a thing of beauty.

There are those who believe veal stock is unnecessary. Those people are idiots. In fact, there was a great debate on eGullet not long ago, in which some folks claimed that veal stock was difficult to do, or hard to find ingredients for, or just too much work and that beef stock was sufficient. They are sadly misguided. And also probably have bad breath. I'm just sayin'.

Now, I'm not one to delve down into the nitty-gritty of arguments like that because I obviously don't have the culinary training or expertise that some folks have, but damnit -- I have a palate that can tell the difference between dishes made with veal stock versus beef stock, and it DOES make a difference, because veal stock has a certain, distinct neutrality to it. And, if I may get all science-y on you for a minute, because the bones are from a young animal they contain more collagen, which when it breaks down into gellatin gives the veal stock an unparalleled body you just can't get from older bones.

But let me explain it in more Carol-like terms:

Beef stock tastes like Chef-Boy-R-Dee ravioli.

Veal stock is more velvety than actual velvet.

Beef stock is a sweaty, hairy truck driver on the final leg of a cross-country haul, in which he stopped only to sleep, not shower.

Veal stock is like standing naked under a gentle waterfall in the sunlight.

Beef stock makes your house smell like farts.

Veal stock makes your house smell like home.

Beef stock is not veal stock. And don't even get me started on the canned stocks -- they should be outlawed. But that's a rant for another day, and another blog.

Back to the task at hand: Let's talk about how to make veal stock from The French Laundry Cookbook.

One of the biggest complaints I hear about veal stock is this: "But I don't know wheeerrre to buyyy veeeeeaaallll boooonnnnnnneeeess."

To which my reply is: "Get the hell off the computer and TALK TO PEOPLE."

I had no trouble at all finding veal bones because I know how to have a conversation. I know... how very 1991 of me. I simply picked up the phone and (using the yellow pages - I'm old, sue me) called grocery stores, butchers, and other meat-related businesses to see who had veal bones. I found at least 10 places in the DC metro region that carried them regularly, and another 10 who could order them for me 48 hours in advance. And, trust me, it's not just city centers that carry veal bones. I've done my research. You can find them almost anywhere -- you just have to ask.

I also asked the vendors at my local farmers' market if they knew anyone locally who sold veal bones, and it turns out one of them carries veal bones quite regularly.... and if he hadn't had them, I could have ordered them for the following week. So, it's almost like the veal bones found me... not the other way around.

So, it's easy. Again, you just have to ask. And when you do, you get 10 pounds of bones like these:

I rinsed them in cold water and put them in one of my gigundo 24-quart stock pots to begin the first step of making The French Laundry Cookbook's veal stock: "the blanching of bones for clarification."

I filled the pot with enough cold water so that there was twice as much water as bones.

I turned on the burner to medium heat and brought it to a simmer. While it was coming to a simmer, I moved the bones around a tiny bit (but not too much), and I skimmed all the gunk that began to rise to the surface. Bringing the pot of water and bones to a simmer took just about an hour and 15 minutes.

As soon as the pot began to simmer, I turned off the heat and drained the bones in a colander.

I rinsed the bones to remove all the gunk that was clinging to them, and had to take this pot outside later to clean it to get rid of all the gunk that was sticking to the bottom.

Thankfully, pot #2 was ready and waiting, so I could keep going.

I put the rinsed bones into a clean stock pot, added 12 quarts of water, and began what The French Laundry Cookbook calls "Veal #1 -- The initial extraction of flavor from bones and aromatics to obtain a first liquid."

I turned on the heat to medium and slowly brought it to a simmer -- again, it took about an hour and 15 minutes. I skimmed every 10-15 minutes so get rid of all the impurities that were rising to the top.

Once the liquid was simmering, I added tomato paste, which I stirred in to help it break up a bit in the water. Then, I added carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaves and fresh tomatoes.

I brought this to a simmer and let it simmer for just over four hours. I skimmed every 20 minutes or so.

When it was ready, I strained it and saved the bones and aromatics for the next step. I strained this part of the stock into a smaller pot, put it in a sink full of ice and stirred it to cool it before putting it in the refrigerator.

Next, it was time to make "Veal #2 -- or, remouillage (remoistening) -- the second extraction of flavor to obtain a second liquid." To do that I put the bones and aromatics from what I'd just strained into a clean stock pot and added 12 quarts of water.

I slowly brought this to a simmer, and allowed it to simmer for four hours, skimming every half hour or so.

I strained this liquid and cooled it, just as I did the first batch.

I let both batches of vealy goodness really cool off in the refrigerator overnight and began the final step the next morning.

I poured both pots of veal liquid into a large stockpot and slowly brought it to a simmer. This time, I let it simmer for 7 hours, and it reduced and reduced and reduced, and I skimmed and skimmed and skimmed, and MAN did my house smell amazing.

I poured it through two different strainers into a smaller pot and cooled it off in another sink full of ice.

Finally, I ladled it, 2 cups at a time, into plastic containers that later went into the freezer for safekeeping.

Make it this way once. Humor me. You won't be sorry. You can even halve the recipe, if that makes it easier. However, if you need a quicker go-to way for making veal stock, Ruhlman has it down, so follow his lead. The man knows his stuff.

Up Next: A French Laundry at Home Extra: Trussing and roasting chicken

Veal bones from Smith Meadows Farm
Cento tomato paste
Aromatics and produce from
Whole Foods

Music to Cook By:
It's a little bit of a roundabout story, but I listened to a pretty steady rotation of The Fixx and Re-Flex. See, I've been thinking about Ruhlman's The Elements of Cooking a lot this week, and whenever I read that title, my brain sees/reads "The Elements of Cooking" to the tune of "The Politics of Dancing" by Re-Flex, and then I have that frakkin' song in my head all day. So, of course, I had to listen to Re-Flex while I cooked, and then thought, hey -- maybe I should also listen to The Fixx (with their obvious music video production budget of $50). Why? Because they are also from the 80s and have an "x" in their name. I know. How the MacArthur Foundation hasn't awarded me one of their genius grants by now astounds me, too.

Read my previous post: Saddle of Rabbit in Applewood-Smoked Bacon with Caramelized Fennel and Fennel Oil

And, a special thanks to Spooneroonie, who sent me this lovely, lovely bacon wallet to replace the one that got stolen. How much do I love her?!?!


The Judge said...

all that work, what was the yield?

Carol Blymire said...

ct-esq: The photo shows the yield -- about 12 C or just under 3 qts.

Unknown said...

that does look fabulously yummy, although time consuming...extra kudos for the Re-Flex reference, now I'll never be able to say the Elements of Cooking again with an entirely straight face! Worth it though, love that song.

xtinehlee said...

you have convinced me to make my own veal stock!!!!!

The Italian Dish said...

Okay, you've convinced me. I'm doing this. It's the kind of project you can do on a weekend and still get things done in between steps. Having all that lovely stock to freeze will be well worth it. Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

First of all, a bacon wallet? That is so awesome.

Second, thanks for doing this post. I will probably do The French Laundry version of the stock, but do half a batch, since I don't have huge stock pots. I could practically smell it through the computer -- it looks great! Sometimes, it's worth spending a day or two on something that is so integral to other things tasting good. This is great!

Jaye Joseph said...

Awesome post! I'm running low so placed an order for veal bones last week. I might have to humor you and try this method this time.

It must have been a stock making weekend, I made chicken stock (fortified with a duck carcass as well).

Anonymous said...

I know this is time consuming, but boy oh boy... it sure does make a difference! Have you ever tried french onion soup with veal stock instead of beef?? Yummy!! Oh, by any chance are you a fan of Battlestar?? Frak!! ;-)

Txgrrl said...

Veal stock is so amazing that if it were legal to marry a food product, it would be my first choice for a husband. I love cooking veal stock overnight. When you wake up, lovely stock, great home smell plus it's easy to resist the urge to get up and stir because of that sleep thing.

I made simple beef stroganoff with veal stock one time and I thought my (non food product) husband was going to propose again.

Great post.

JordanBaker said...

I would say that I covet the bacon wallet, but I think that taken in combination with my bacon scarf, it might be a bit much.

Anonymous said...

In his book Making of a Chef, which was my introduction to Ruhlman, he spends quite a bit of time on white vs dark veal stock. They are also quite different.

We have both white veal and dark beef available in large quantity, as well as chicken and vegetable and at the moment lobster stocks.

Stocks can quite simply, although you do need a pressure canner to do it. We have the first four above in pint jars on shelves in the basement. This lets us use freezer space for large quantities on non factory pork and beef.

Monica Fulvio said...

A practical note for DC area people:

You can get veal bones at
The Laurel Meat Market
347 Main St., Laurel, MD, 301-725-5855.
They always carry frozen ones, which are awesomely cheap.

Anonymous said...

Hey - found you from TC's column on E!
Who knew that food and gossip mixed so well. This site is awesome and YOU are hilarious!

Natty said...

This feels like a timely post. I've been battling with myself over veal stock for a looooooong time. My difficulty is three-fold:

1) I live in a teeny-tiny apartment with a fridge that's about fourteen cubic feet. It's more practical for me to use the chicken carcass from our weekly roast chicken than to devote additional space to veal bones.

2) I make some amazing chicken stock that I've been using the spike sauces and so on and it has a homey magic all its own. It also speaks to my hopelessly frugal nature.

3) My husband has ethical problems with veal. He's aware that there's veal stock in the foods we eat in good restaurants but he would give me the giant puppy dog eyes if I brought veal bones into the house. It's worth enduring "the eyes" for foie gras but I couldn't take it for bones.

Anonymous said...

The comparisons make it sound like beef stock is awful.

Is the point supposed to be that veal stock is miles better, or that beef stock is actually bad? If the appropriate bones for beef stock are available, is it worth doing?

Erika said...

Gee thanks for putting that Re-flex song in my brain this morning. I will never look at my "Elements of Cooking" the same way again!!
Veal stock is on my list of "to do" items (has been for a while) but I might have to try the FL version, looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

See, bacon does make everything better! You are so very welcome. Use it in good health.

Is it wrong that I sometimes crave Chef-Boy-R-Dee ravioli?

amber said...

okay okay okay. between you and ruhlman, i'm convinced. it's going on my weekend to-do list... just might be a few weekends before i get to it ;)

and you're talking about trussing a roast chicken next entry!? thank god! you should have seen my husband and i trying to figure that one out a few months back. hilarious... on opposite day :/

Unknown said...

A timely post, Carol. I was contemplating doing just a beef stock, but the reasons you supplied for making a veal stock convinced me of its superiority. Now to find in the bones....

Salpy said...

Help! Ok, I live in D.C. I have started making my own broth/stock, and I'm pretty sure I RUINED my first batch when I put it in the freezer. Where did you get your freezer containers? I have no idea where to go! Thanks! I put mine in zip-lock wasn't a good idea. I pulled them out before I think they were too ruined, and put them in tupperwares, but the tupperware doesn't really seem to close properly. So where did your containers come from? :)

Joan P. said...

I love your blog!!! Good choice =) We make fond de veau almost every week! Typically for a brown stock, we caramlize the bones pretty well in the oven. Then we add in a carrot, onion, and some celery cut in mirepoix, caramelize that. Then add fresh tomatos diced, and tomato paste, cook a bit, deglaze with red wine. Then add everything into a pot (bones too) - top off with water, bring to a boil, and add a bouquet garni (green leaf of a leek wrapped with thyme, celery stick, parsley and bay leaf). After it's boiled, we simmer for at least 3.5 hours.

Gloria said...

Did you see that you got mentioned on That's pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

Another practical tip for DC residents. Union Meat Co. in eastern market carries veal bones (in 5 pound bags)for a good price.

Also, to the person asking about containers, I recommend freezing them into ice cube trays and then putting the cubes in freezer bags. Much easier to get out the right amount when you're ready to use your stock.

Anonymous said...

So what's a ballpark decent price range for veal bones for stock?

Anonymous said...

Somebody beat me to mentioning Ruhlman's reference to you.

Beef stock isn't bad, it is just not veal stock. They both have uses. Some people simply refer to white vs. dark stocks. Our beef stock is our dark stock. Our chicken, veal and vegetable stocks are white ones. Very different tastes.

Anonymous said...

"My husband has ethical problems with veal. He's aware that there's veal stock in the foods we eat in good restaurants but he would give me the giant puppy dog eyes if I brought veal bones into the house. It's worth enduring "the eyes" for foie gras but I couldn't take it for bones."

First of, this was another great post. Veal stock is amazing stuff and I do make it every so often. I do not make it more for a similar reason as the one someone posted above. No, it is not the same thing as Foie Gras. I believe the geese/ducks raised for foie are not living a miserable, confined and inhumane life. I eat foie with no qualms (whenever I can afford it that or twice a year :-( ). Veal, traditional veal, on the other hand is 'raised' in a miserable, confined and inhumane way. I never order veal anymore because of that and like I said earlier I hardly ever make veal stock. It's not that it is cute, or has doe eyes, it's the way it is treated before it gets slaughtered.After all rabbits are cute and I love me some bunny. Sure, you can in theory get grass fed veal, but for a very high price and you certainly have to special order it...probably it worth it? I have no idea. Did I put enough of a damper on this fun conversation? If so, just ignore my 2 cents and carry on :-).

Unknown said...

"Sure, you can in theory get grass fed veal, but for a very high price and you certainly have to special order it"

Not only is veal unethical for the reasons you've stated, grass fed "veal" really isn't veal at all. I think it was Julia Child who referred to the naturally raised or free-range veal as baby beef. If you let the calves roam around unconfined, then they lose all that tasty collagen and whatever it is that makes veal taste so good.

So when you have someone like Consentino who demands humanely treated cows (and Ruhlman supports him on this), how do you justify that with the consumption of veal?

Anonymous said...

So, how much does 10lbs of veal bones cost anyway? I'd love to try this... I have the FL cookbook.

Carol Blymire said...

Anonymous: Unfortunately, the packaging from my veal bones is buried deep in my garbage can, but I think I paid about $1.25/lb. I've seen veal bones for anywhere from $1.10-2.50/lb. in the DC area.

Anonymous said...

Basically, grass fed veal is not veal at all. Julia Child calls the naturally raised or free-range veal "baby beef." They cannot be fed on grass or else the flesh will be darker than the creamy pink that milk or formula fed veal develops.

I've never tried it so I do not know if it is a much more of a different product than the traditional veal. I went to the website for the farm that Carol used to buy veal from and it is a humane, grass-fed operation it seems. I'm all for that. So, Carol, how did your stock come out? Any better or worse than non-grass-fed (aka boxed?) veal?

queenofsheba said...

Um, why don't you wash your giant pots in the bathtub?

Anonymous said...

What a fun coincidence - I decided to try making veal stock this weekend as well. Given that it was my first attempt, I'm happy to say that mine looks very much like yours.

I followed the preparation in Bouchon, which seems to differ mainly in leaving out the second extraction. I think I paid about $1.90 a pound for the veal bones in Eugene, OR.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I so want to give this a try and you just about have me convinced but.........your'e killing me with the little bunny and little cow reminders. So the only thing I can do is step away for awhile, then come back to the recipe. That way I can just pretend I am cooking meat and bones that didn't really come from anywhere. Did you really spend 12 hours skimming?

Anonymous said...

I think a pic of the washing out of pots in the backyard would be awesome and possibly kinda funny. That you have made this stock more than once is a testament to how cool you are. That plus you still use the Yellow Pages and managed to work in the word "farts."

French Toast and bananas...mmmmm. I think a girl continued to date me several months longer than she intended because she couldn't give up the French Toast with bananas on top that I made.

Anonymous said...

What brand/model is that over-sink strainer you have? I've been looking for a good one for a while.

Carol Blymire said...

QueenofSheba: I don't have a working bathtub. Just a shower. That's why I have to wash the pots outside.

e. nassar: From what I can recall from my conversation with the farmer who raises the animals at Smith Meadows, the calves are grass-fed, but also drink their mother's milk. I think it's mostly grass, though, and I have to say when I've bought veal from him to eat, it's been delicious. I've only ever made stock with bones from him, so I can't give you a comparison. I like to know where my products come from. I know there are politics and a lot of back-and-forth that can be had on this topic -- it's always interesting to me to hear other people's perspectives.

Kim: I understand, and it's okay. And yes, I spent the better part of 12 hours skimming from time to time. But I love doing stuff like that, so it's all good.

RT: I will spare you the photos of me washing my pots outside, because you'd look at them and say, "I didn't know Elle MacPherson was the one writing this blog. How clever of her to use the pen name, Carol Blymire." And yes, we women sometimes make choices with our palates and not our brains. Similar to how men make decisions with a different p-word.

Carol Blymire said...

Anonymous: I don't know -- there's no name on it. I bought it at TJ Maxx three years ago.

Unknown said...

Salpy: When I do chicken stock, I always always always let it cool in the fridge overnight before putting it in containers for the freezer. Also, you need to give about a one (1) inch area of "headspace" in the container so it won't open on you while it freezes and the water in it expands. I'll either use leftover Chinese food contains like the pictures here, or just some Rubbermaid containers (and they have just started making ones that hold about a cup that are awesome).

Sigh... may have to plan for this project while the weather is nice but before it gets too warm. Too bad I live in a townhome and if I washed the big pots out back (where neighbors' back doors are about 20 feet away) they'd think I'm more nuts than they already do, and if I washed them out front, the feral cats might attack at the smell of the veal-y goodness. Might be washing them in the bathtub for me...

And yeah, I know it's too late for requests, but this weekend on the new Sara Moulton show on PBS she was making stock and they had some very good examples of what to look for with the sludge to skim off the top. Yeah, it's gross and doesn't make for purty pictures, but it was a light bulb moment for me.

Colin said...

As a professional chef I often refer to the French Laundry Cookbook and we actually use Keller's awesome veal stock recipe for or own sauces. Here is a picture of our stock reduced for sauce. It is posted on my blog:

I love the blog you have here and cooking what you are cooking without the aid of the dishwashers I have is really a great task


Seventeen hours. Whoa. Yeah, I never bothered to make it myself, but you're so right... there is just nothing like it.

Thinking of all the things I do that just waste time.... when I could be making veal stock instead! I'll be calling around tomorrow to find veal bones. And also giant pots.

Unknown said...

Carol, I live in Seattle, and called around asking for veal bones like you did, and when I got some, they looked nothing like the bones you showed. Mine had hardly any meat on them, and yours were incredibly meaty. Did you ask for something specific? I just asked for veal bones for stock.

Anyone know of a source for veal bones in Seattle?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who said:
"The comparisons make it sound like beef stock is awful.
Is the point supposed to be that veal stock is miles better, or that beef stock is actually bad? If the appropriate bones for beef stock are available, is it worth doing?

I can say unequivocally yes it is worth it. Carol does make beef stock out to be swill, but compared to the canned or cubed stuff homemade beef stock is beefy ambrosia. Beefy being the key difference. Veal is not just tiny beef that hasn't grown up. Beef has a mature flavor that is absolutely not "vealy".
It's a bit of work but the reward is stunning.
I don't claim to be a culinary wizard but I was able brew up about a gallon of beef stock using bones and ox tails that was half the cost of the stuff in a can and 4 times as tasty and I control the salt content. If you want to read about it jump here

I have every intention of breaking out my copy of TFLCB and following in Carol's example.
Carol you rock.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Give that stock and its maker an award. Now!

Anonymous said...

goddamn, i love veal stock. i usually buy it, like a sucker (thank you fresh direct!), and it makes all the difference in taste and texture of sauces.

i'm going to have to do the full-on homemade one day. maybe when i have a long weekend (thomas keller exhausts me).

Victoria said...

Great post and one I have long been waiting for. I hope you're still reading comments and will still answer questions:

(1) Will you tell us what the sizes of all the pots you used are?

(2) Do you think using two 12-quart pots would eliminate the pot-too-big-for-my-sink problem? I know it would be a ton of switching, but I'm just wondering....

(3) I followed a veal stock recipe of Ruhlman's - but made it white instead of brown and found that the thyme was a little overpowering in the final product. I guess you don't have that problem - but do you use the actual amount of thyme that is called for in TFL cookbook?

(4) I make the chicken stock from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook all the time and have become addicted to having it in my freezer. I really use a chicken with head and feet attached as the recipe specifies. When it's done, I chill the stock, remove the fat, reheat the stock, and then strain it into a Chemex coffee pot through Chemex filters before I put it away in 8-ounce increments. It's not veal stock, but it is divine.

(5) I leave celery out of the stock recipes I make based on comments in TFL and what you have had to say about celery.

(6) For anyone living in NYC, I believe Espositos on Ninth Avenue always has veal bones (and calves' feet), and Jeffrey's Meats in the Essex Market (my favorite butcher) often has veal bones and always has chickens with head and feet. He is a treasure trove for cooks.

Natty said...

e. nassar, I'm of the same mind as you-- cruelty-free foie gras is out there in the world but not so much veal. I am actually avoiding reading several books right now because the more I learn about how the food gets to table, the more I feel the need to modify what I buy and what I cook.

And lest anyone think I won't eat an adorable bunny, I'll share a story from my youth. My father is a hunter who routinely went rabbit hunting. As a little girl, it upset me greatly to think of an adorable fuzzy-bunny getting iced by big-bad-daddy. I remember him sitting me down and saying, "Honey, these little bunnies are so flea-ridden and miserable, they run up to you and beg to be shot." Horrible, I know, and not entirely true, but I have no problem eating anything that got to run or swim around in the wild like an honest-to-goodness animal.

Sorry to turn this into an ethical debate, Carol! I'd happily lap up anything you made with this veal stock if I was lucky enough to be a guest for dinner in your home. Love your blog!

Anonymous said...


Ok, a few questions:

1. What kind of veal bones? They don't look like all leg bones, there's some other bones, so what do I ask for? I always see just leg bones for sale.

2. How do you skim with all the aromatics floatng on the top? The scum just clings to the veggies and is nearly impossible to skim.

3. Why the tomato paste? You're putting in a whole lot of raw tomatos, what does the paste bring to the party?


Carol Blymire said...

Amanda: Sometimes the bones I get have a lot of meat on them, sometimes not. I've made stock with all kinds of bones and it's all been lovely.

Chris: Thanks, and you're right. I was going for dramatic effect with my beef vs. veal rant. Glad you're gonna try this stock. I think you'll love it.

Victoria: I used 24-quart stockpots. You do not have to do that. I bought them at TJ Maxx at a deep discount, which is why I bought them. Using smaller pots is fine, too. Just remember, there is a lot of straining going on, so you need to move the stock from the cooking pot to a clean pot through a strainer... so just make sure you think it through before you start out. I'm not a big fan of thyme either, so you can downplay that if you want to. I think I only put in 2 or 3 sprigs.

Natty: No worries. Debate away! I'm always supportive of open discussion on this blog. As long as no one attacks one another, we're all good.

Mike: It was a combination of leg, neck, and back bones. The skimming can be tricky. Sometimes, I did end up taking out some of the aromatics accidentally. Other times, I just pushed down on them with the skimmer and the crud rose to the top and I got it that way. And, you add tomato paste as well as fresh tomatos because the paste is so concentrated, it adds a different dimension of tomato flavor/color to the stock.

Anonymous said...

This looks great. I will have to try it out!

On another note: we are preparing a typical French Bistro dinner this weekend - how many courses typically? And what are they?

Anonymous said...

If you don't add the aromatics until an hour before the stock gets strained, you will still get the full flavors, don't have to fight them to skim, and they won't start absorbing stock which lessens the yield.

Hopie said...

Wow, I just discovered your blog and your style is great; you crack me up!! I had never heard of French Laundry at Home, but I think I'll be keeping an eye out for it -- and coming back to your blog of course. :-)

Carol Blymire said...

Chez: re: the bistro meal, no clue. Whenever I eat that kind of food, I usually just eat lots of bread, and a bunch of small plates of food so I can try everything. Also, I'm a big fan of moules frites, so when a place has that, I'm in heaven.

NTSC: You're right about that.

Anonymous said...

Carol!!! Just read your latest news on Slashfood. Can't wait to hear your fake German accent on TV!!!

Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

um, what's this I hear that a certain blogger may be making the leap to TV?

Sam said...

Hey Carol, I am a 22-year-old grad student and you have inspired me to make freaking veal stock sometime. I usually don't cook meat at home, just because I forget about it and it goes bad, also it's expensive, but the idea of drinking pure velvet is too enchanting to ignore.

Also, you inspired me discover "the politics of dancing." You are just too inspirational.

Jakeymon said...

Brilliant. And looks delicious.

And as usual, sourcing is everything. I think a lot of the ethical issues around this particular food evaporate when a little effort is made to ask questions about how the food is raised. You do end up paying more for the ethical food, but it's worth it - you are what you eat after all.

Or maybe they don't evaporate, in which case, more veal for the veal eaters!

Ann said...

You got your WALLET back!!! How lovely. My god, it's the small things in life, is it not? Wonderful post, as always.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, Carol. FN?? I cannot wait . . . to see your thread on TWoP. Bring on the Watermelon Fizz!

eatingclubvancouver_js said...


1. Get big stockpots.

2. Know what volume these big stockpots are in actuality. (It seems that we have some odd-sized ones!)

3. Get veal bones.

4. Make veal stock.

5. Get those plastic containers. (#5 needs to be bumped up to #2.)

Thanks for the play-by-play.

*scratching head*

Can we actually do this now?

Anonymous said...

Why make a remouillage rather than simmering a little longer?

A DC-based friend wants to know, what special places do you have for buying meat? He knows about Eastern Market and Whole Foods.

Allow me to point out that this stock, as lovely as it is, is only suitable for Western dishes (which makes sense, given the subject of your blog). I shudder to think what it would do to a stirfry.

I'm strongly tempted to try this. Then I remember what it took to make proper espagnole and demi-glace from The Saucier's Apprentice (hey, it's back in print!). $60+ dollar and a week's worth of work. Browning 20 lbs of meat alone took several days as the building's janitor would disconnect the overly sensitive smoke detector for only a few hours at a time. But oh, was it lovely while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

Well, you did it. I knew veal stock was the mother sauce of classical cuisine and that Thomas Keller's ranked pretty damn high, just never thought it'd be easy enough for me to do at home. Thanks for making it so accesable, I just finished my second batch of it. I'll have plenty more in the future as well, as my local butcher, the only one to carry veal bones, could only get them in a 50 lb case! (but at $1.05/ pound, I'll take 'em!) The question now is, where is Mr. Keller's recipe for demi-glace? I've got plenty of velvety veal lovliness looking for a final home.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Scully, author of Dominion, writes:
"Veal, by definition, is the product of a sick, anemic, deliberately malnourished calf, a newborn dragged away from his mother in the first hours of life. Veal calves are dealt the harshest of punishments for the least essential of meats. And if you think people can get too sentimental about animals, try listening sometime to chefs and gourmands going on about the “velvety smooth succulence” of their favorite fare."

Here's the scoop:

Anonymous said...

I would have no problems eating any animal that has feasted on the tender young seedlings of my flower and vegetable garden, like the audacious bastard rabbits that flip me off as they saunter across my back yard and nibble on my tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

would lamb bones produce a comparable stock to what veal bones do or would the lamb not have the neutrality that veal has.

Carol Blymire said...

anonymous -- Lamb stock taste different than veal stock -- not as velvety, and (to me) a little lighter. They're not interchangeable in sauces, but lamb stock can yield a great sauce or reduction when making a lamb dish. In my experience, it's not as neutral as veal stock.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice. It just happened that my market had a lot of lamb breast for sale and wondered if i should of made stock out of them, now ill search harder for veal bones.

Anonymous said...

good veal stock recipe but what about roasting the bones first then deglazing that pan with red wine and adding that liquid to the stock?

Anonymous said...

How hilarious are you! thanks for the good laugh. I love how candid you are with your writing.

I have officially bookmarked you!

Anonymous said...

Awesome recipe... I have the book but haven't cracked the spine yet... it's so much more than a cookbook. I do have a question... did anyone answer the "roasting the veal bones" prior to making the stock question??


Anonymous said...

Wow, yes this is supper!! However we in Seattle are fortunate to have the Metropolitan
Market. They do it for you and they do it good.

However if you have the time-, this is the way to go.


Anonymous said...

Escoffier identified sauces made with veal stock as having a flavor distinct from the four primary tastes although it took another hundred years before this fifth taste was finally accepted as valid.

Debbie said...

I know this is a little late in the conversation about grass fed veal but I thought I would chime in..
I am an organic farmer in TN who raises grass fed veal who also grew up eating veal every week due to my Maltese heritage. We have had a culinary institute do a blind comparison and our bones won hands down - yeah!! They found the flavor to be deeper while still maintaining the characteristic mildness that makes veal stock irreplaceable in recipes. They also found that our bones produced more gelatin than the traditional veal bones.
Our veal does get its mother's milk until they are ready to be butchered. The meat is a deep rosy color but it has a great mild flavor and is extremely tender, which really should be the characteristics we look for, not just a white flesh.
Yes our bones are more expensive but I would never think of lowering the standards of humaneness on my farm to make it possible for me to produce a cheaper product. It definitely takes more work but seeing the little guys waiting outside the milking stall for Mommy makes it all worth it.
Just my two cents worth.

Roxanne said...

I make veal stock pretty regularly (every 3-4 months, and I get about 8 qts at a time with my crock pot, and 2 big dutch ovens).

I prefer to roast the bones (about 8-10 lbs worth) at 450 for about 1 hour until they are deeply deeply brown (blanching is just an extra step that isn't needed for a brown stock). After about 30 minutes of roasting, I smear tomato paste all over the bones (which roasts and also caramelizes) and toss in my aromatics to brown as well. After roasting, everything gets transferred to my pots, the rendered fat is poured off, and the pan gets deglazed with a young red wine, which gets divided into my pots. Cold water goes in and everything is brought to a slow, slow simmer (barely any movement of the water, I just want to see the occasional bubble). I skim and skim and skim for about 2-3 hours; then I add bouquet garni (parsley sprigs, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns). My two pots go into the oven at 195 over night, and the crock pot gets set to low w/ the lid slightly askew so it doesn't do any thing more than occasionally bubble. I let the bones do their magic for at least 12 hours, which produces so much body and gelatin, that after chilling, I've basically got aspic bricks. In sauces, it leaves a delicious, sticky, lip smacking sensation that is thoroughly addicting.

It's amazing stuff to me, liquid gold really!

smtolle said...

There are those who believe veal stock is unnecessary. Those people are idiots.

Tonight inspired by you and Ruhlman, I am making veal stock. Even if I wasn't I'd love you just for the perfection of that sentence.