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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Veal and Chicken Stock

There is nothing as wonderful as a homemade chicken, veal or fish stock.  The flavors are natural and smooth.  I have to admit that it is not always possible to have homemade stock on hand.  Not because I don't want to make it but more because I would have to dedicate a whole day to the process.  This includes scouting out the ingredients which I cannot always find in different cities.  Also, at least for veal stock, a good 6 hours of simmering is required to get the best flavor.  

Chicken stock is easier and when I want it, I will buy those fresh roasted chickens at the grocery store, remove the meat for another use and use the carcass for the stock.  In about an hour, I have a wonderful stock that I can freeze.  This adds a lot of value to the chicken from which the carcass can yield a good 2 liters of high quality chicken stock.

This being said, I have never let the absence of a good stock deter me from cooking something wonderful.  Most of the canned stocks taste only of salt but if you buy the better healthier brands, you can have something that will do nicely.

I did however come across a dehydrated stock in Paris that I use when I have nothing else.   It has no flavor enhancers, no preservatives, no artificial color and no hydrogenated fats! It is sold in a small store called G. Detout (play on words meaning I have everything).  This store is one of my favorites places to go and you can get many hard to find, restaurant quality, ingredients for reasonable prices.  It is located in a wonderful area of Paris where many of the famous kitchen supply stores are.  If you like food shopping (especially pastry), this is a great place to visit.  The address is:

G. DeTout
58, rue Tiquetonne,
75002, Paris, France
(+33) (0)1 42 36 54 67

These stocks are made by CHEF and it is a Nestle Professional product.  Their web site is:

(actually this is a Swiss product so I will have to check it out here).

Just in case you would like to make your own, here are my recipes for veal and chicken stock.    It takes a little time, but once they are made, you can store them in double lined baggies in the freezer (in about 1 cup quantities or in ice cube trays) to use as you need.

Homemade Chicken Stock

The key to a flavorful chicken stock is to use the carcass of a roasted chicken.  Because the bird is cooked, it will color the stock a little which I think makes it even better.  

You will need:  (for about 2 liters of chicken stock)
  • carcass of a 2 kg (4 lb.) cooked chicken, meat removed, it can be left whole or divided;
  • 1 large carrot cut in 1/2 and then in 1'' (2.5cm) pieces
  • 1 large onion cut in quarters
  • 1 medium leek cut in 1'' (2.5cm) pieces
  • the leafy part of one piece of celery
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • water

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water;
  2. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that forms at the surface to remove impurities;
  3. Reduce heat and simmer on low for one hour.
  4. Strain the stock back into a pot and lightly season to taste.  Simmer to reduce and intensify flavors for about 10 minutes.  Cool it by placing it in an ice bath and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next morning you can remove any fat that has solidified and split the stock into quantities that you find easy to use  (usually about one cup).   Put it in double lined, well sealed baggies and freeze (this is great as it takes less room in the freezer).  Just thaw and reheat when ready to use.
Time investment:  Prep and finishing time:  20 minutes
                             Cooking time:  1 hour

Veal Stock:  
As it turns out, the other day at the grocery store I found veal bones.  I grabbed them and kept them in the freezer until I was ready to make this stock.

    You will need:  (Yields about 1 liter of stock)
    • 700 g of veal bones, if you can get a butcher to chop them in small pieces that is even better and they will yield more flavor;
    • 2 tbsp of oil
    • 1 large carrot, sliced in 1/2 and cut in 1'' (2.5cm) pieces
    • 1 large onion cut in quarters
    • 1 large leek cut in 1'' (2.5 cm) pieces
    • 5 garlic cloves just slightly crushed
    • 6 whole peppercorns
    • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
    • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley,
    • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme,
    • 1 large bay leaf
    • 1/2 cup of red wine
    • 2 liters of water

    1. Heat oven to 200°C (400°F);
    2. Place a roasting pan large enough to hold all the bones on the stove on medium high heat;
    3. Add 2 tbsp of oil;
    4. When the oil is hot, begin browning the bones, turning them;
    5. After about 5 minutes, put the pan with the bones in the oven and let brown for 30 minutes (shake the pan a few times to turn the bones);
    6. Take the pan out of the oven and remove the bones to a strainer to remove any fat;
    7. Discard the fat in the roasting pan except for 1 tbsp and return to medium high heat.  Add the carrots, onions, leeks, garlic and tomato paste;  
    8. Stir until the vegetables begin to caramelize and colour (15 minutes);
    9. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of red wine and scrape the bottom very well to recuperate all the flavour.
    10. Transfer the vegetables and wine mixture, the bones and the herbs to a large stock pot;
    11. Cover all the solids with water and bring to a simmer (remember to skim off any foam);
    12. Simmer on a very low heat for about 5 - 6 hours;
    13. After about 6 hours, strain the stock into a bowl and cool it down in an ice bath.
    14. Place the bowl in the fridge overnight.  Remove any fat that has solidified on the top and divide the stock in portions that you can freeze.
    15. Remember that this stock is not seasoned until you are using it. This allows you to reduce it without it becoming too salty.
    16. It can be used as a base for another sauce,  or reduced for more intense flavor and then thickened with a little cornstarch diluted in some red wine or port.  Bring to a boil, season and serve.  This type of stock which is reduced to a glaze for a very intense flavor is called a demi-glace.
    Time investment:  Prep and finishing time:  about 1 hour
                                   Cooking time:  5 -6 hours