Veal Stock.

Anyone that has cooked in a professional kitchen understands the importance of good stock. In their early days, some chefs are tasked to spend their entire mornings preparing and making stock, since it is used in so many dishes and plays such a key role in flavour. Yesterday Liam was cooking up some veal stock in the kitchen and the smell was incredible. So good, we thought you might want the recipe to try yourself.

Note: The calf’s hoof is not added for flavour but for the gel­atin it releases during cooking. This gives the finished stock body, ensuring it sets to a firm jelly. If possible use veal neck bones to make the veal stock as they are meatier and very flavoursome. Ask your butcher to cut the bones into small pieces which will make them easier to roast and evenly colour. This will also ensure maxi­mum flavour from the bones.

Ingredients (makes 2½-litres)

1 calf’s hoof, split

6kg fresh veal bones

50ml vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 stick celery, roughly chopped

½ head garlic, cut in half

100g button mushrooms, sliced

1 small white of leek, roughly chopped

75g tomato paste

4-litres cold water

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Coat the bones and hooves in half the oil and roast in a hot oven until browned, turn­ing the bones frequently to ensure even-colouring. When the bones are roasted, drain and place in a heavy-based pot and cover with the cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 min­utes, skimming frequently to remove all the impurities that float to the surface. Pour the remaining oil into the same tray in which the bones were roasted, add the vegetables and return to the oven to cook for 20 minutes until caramelised. Add a few splashes of water and stir the vegetables and loosen the sediment left from the bones. Mix the tomato paste through the vegetables and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the vegetables to the stock. Continue to cook the stock for a further 6 hours or until the stock has reduced by two thirds, skimming frequently. Pass the stock through a coarse sieve to remove the bones and vegetables. Once again, pass the stock through a fine sieve into a clean stainless steel container and refrigerate. Remove any fat that forms on the surface before using. The veal stock can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 3 days before using or up to 3 months in the freezer.