This week we feature a guest blog by Devany Vickery-Davidson. She shares a stock recipe using local, grass-fed veal bones she purchased at the Waimea farmers market on the Big Isle. A food and travel writer who owned a cooking school for home chefs in Chicago, she lives in Hilo where her passion for great food is part of her blog, www.myhawaiianhome.blogspot.com. Vickery-Davidson also contributes to Ke Ola and Edible Hawaiian Islands magazines and is writing a food-centric novel about the Big Isle. She can be contacted at PineapplePrincess@hawaii.rr.com.
Why I Make Veal Stock
I love veal stock. It is velvety deep and rich and makes most everything taste better. I have been making my own stocks for years, but after I moved to Hawai‘i, I thought I would never find veal bones. Thanks to the folks at Big Island Red Veal, those bones are actually obtainable in Hawai‘i now. About now you are probably asking, “What is the difference between Beef Stock and Veal Stock?” Because the bones are from a young animal they contain more collagen, which when it breaks down into gelatin, gives the veal stock an unparalleled body you just can’t get from older bones. It really is just that simple.
But let me explain it in a simpler way: Beef stock tastes like Grandma’s Beef Stew. Veal stock is more velvety than actual velvet. Veal stock is a thing of beauty. In the stock department, nothing canned can compare to what you can make at home. And unless you are buying stock in a gourmet market, you will not be able to buy veal stock at all. I do not even buy stocks, which are really just broth in boxes, except in dire emergencies.
Veal Stock Method
First you must locate the Veal Bones. I only know one way to do this since I live in Hilo, town without a butcher. Go to the Waimea Farmers Market on the first Saturday of the month. Go early. Buy veal bones from the Hawaiian Red Veal booth. (For info on local veal, see the Big Isle Grass-fed Beef Producers on our website.)
In the Roasting Pan
This method is for about 10 pounds of bones. You will need a large roasting pan and a very large pot. Take those bones home and wash them. Then put them in a roasting pan, toss with a tiny bit of olive oil and roast them at 400 degrees for an hour, turning once half way through. Rough chop equal amounts of (about 2 cup each) onions, carrots and celery. Add them to the roasting pan. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes. Pour in a small can of tomato paste and stir.
Move to the Stock Pot
Put everything into a large stock pot. Deglaze the roasting pan with about 1 cup of water, scraping to gather any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour this into the stock pot. Add cold water to the top of the pot. If you wish, you can take some herbs and wrap them in cheesecloth and tie with a string for easy removal. This is called a sachet d’epices. I like to use some rosemary, fennel seeds, parsley stems, peppercorns and a bay leaf.
Don’t Allow Stock to Boil
Rule #1: DO NOT ALLOW THE STOCK TO BOIL! You want to cook the stock, of course, but slowly, at a low simmer. Your house is going to smell lovely for many, many hours. If the stock boils, fat is released into the water and makes a cloudy stock. Simmer the stock on low for about 12-14 hours, occasionally skimming any froth off of the top. Do no stir. At this point you will also need to add water to keep the bones covered.
In this process, you want to end up with about three-fourths of the liquid you started with. At this point, strain all of the liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a clean stock pot. Toss all of the solids unless you have dogs that like bones.
Reducing Stock Deepens Flavors
Now the stock is ready for reducing. This enables the flavors to deepen and it will take up less room in your freezer as well. Simmer on a high simmer (not boiling) for a few hours, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced down to half or less, depending on the depth of flavor you want. I generally reduce mine down by about 75 percent. Pour into plastic containers and chill on ice. As soon as it has chilled, freeze or refrigerate. It will last refrigerated about a week and frozen about three months.
Photo credits: Devany Vickery-Davidson