How to cook meat stock
- Meat stock is a chefs best friend.
- A "foundation" that elevates other flavors.
- Ask for a bone or two.
- Clean tools for sustainable stock.
- Go ahead, freeze it.
In ambitious kitchens the chefs cook their own stock. The dry little cube of stock you buy in the grocery will never come anywhere close to the flavors you can develop in a stock that you cook yourself from fresh, aromatic ingredients.
Ingredients for meat stock
The basics remain roughly the same whether you are making stock out of beef, veal, lamb, pork or chicken:
Onion, celery, leeks and carrots provide a foundation (which is exactly what the French word “fond” means) which elevates and emphasizes other flavors. In France this classical foursome is known as “mirepoix”.
Use bones left over from the cutting board – your friendly butcher will be happy to oblige you. Veal is outstanding because it contains a lot of gelatin and taste. A little meat left on the bones is a bonus. Cover the bones and the veggies in water and boil gently for about 4 hours. Remove any foam. Strain the liquid before reducing it to a concentrated broth.
Cleaner is better
Use clean vessels and clean tools to increase the lifetime of the stock. In a closed vessel containing a liquid near the boiling point there is almost no risk of contamination. The weak link comes when you need to apportion the stock into smaller vessels for storage.
Stock can be frozen
Frozen stock is good for up to a year. Scribble the content and the date on every vessel before freezing to save you lots of time and unnecessary waste. Using smaller vessels allows you to thaw and use exactly as much stock as you need.