How To: Make Pure Velvet/Homemade Veal Stock

Categories: How To, Recipes

Photo by Brooke Viggiano
"If every word I said, could make you laugh, I'd talk forever..."
A few weeks ago, the fiance and I took a birthday trip to San Antonio. While I enjoyed some delicious eats during my first trip to the Riverwalk, one thing stood out above the rest. And by stood out, I mean I still think about it every day, dream about it every night, and keep a picture of it on my phone so I can look at it every couple of hours. The thing that caused me to go full Single White Female on its ass is Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood's French Onion Soup.

Here's my thoughts on the soup at the time: "Loaded with flavor, the soup's rich, slow-simmered veal stock is what really got me. It's pure velvet, almost as though it were a sauce and not a stock at all, but still light enough to make me want to devour an entire crock of it...Remember the Jesse and the Rippers smash hit "Forever"? That about sums up my feelings on this soup."

Since I can't be in San Antone eating this soup everyday, I'll need to recreate it at home. And the first step is perfecting the soup's core - its rich, velvety veal stock. For me, a regular beef stock just won't cut it anymore; veal bones give the stock a deeper, more intense flavor.

Making the brown stock is simple. You basically roast the bones, then throw the caramelized bones, some veggies and a bouquet garni (a bundle of fresh herbs) into a large stock pot, cover it with water, and let it simmer for a few hours. Drain and voila! The veal stock is done, son.

It's that easy, but there are a few tricks along the way to intensify the flavor. Here's how I do it:

You'll need

  • Large stock pot
  • Strainer
  • Roasting pan

    Ingredients yield 2 quarts

  • 8-10 lbs veal bones, any combination - ask your butcher to chop into 3-inch pieces
  • Canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, skin on
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • Red wine to deglaze, about 1½-2 cups
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
  • 2 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • Salt, optional - can season when ready to use as well


    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Place veal bones in a large, lightly oiled roasting pan. Roast, turning to brown all sides, until bones are dark golden brown, about 1½-2 hours. Rub the bones with tomato paste, return to oven and roast for another 20-30 minutes.

    Remove bones and place in a large stock pot. Pour off any excess fat from roasting pan and place on stove top over medium-low heat. Add red wine to deglaze, scraping up any bits from the pan. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and pour into stock pot over bones.

    Add onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and garlic to pot. Fill with enough water to cover the contents by 2-3 inches. Add the bouquet garni, season with salt and simmer for about 4 hours, scraping the top to remove scum.

    When the stock's taste is to your preference, strain and divide into containers. This can be stored for 5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.

    A second stock, or remouillage, can be made from the bones by repeating the process (not roasting again). It yields a weaker stock, so it is often added to the primary stock and reduced.

    Now that the veal stock is done, get ready to cook, as this will be one of the most versatile ingredients in your kitchen. Just reduce the stock to deepen the flavor; a demi-glaze is the stock reduced by half.

    Have you ever made your own veal stock? What are your secrets to getting the ultimate rich stock? What kinds of amazing things do you plan on making with it? God, I'm hungry...

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  • My Voice Nation Help

    Hardest part about making veal stock?  Getting the bones.

    "Ask your butcher..."?  Does anyone actually have a relationship with a butcher anymore?  Most places don't actually butcher veal onsite, and therefore have no bones. Even traditional butcher shops.  Sources online exist, but they're either prohibitively expensive ($6-7/lb delivered), or have a 50-lb minimum.

    'Fess up: where'd you get your veal bones?


    HA!  Jesse and the soon as a read the lyrics I immediately heard the melody in my head...strange what your brain decides to store.  He wrote that song about baby Michelle, right?

    That soup makes me wish it was a cold day so I could cozy up to it.

    Brooke Viggiano
    Brooke Viggiano

    Suggest calling ahead but HEB Central Market typically has.

    Katharine Shilcutt
    Katharine Shilcutt

    I've never bought veal bones, per se, but you can get almost any part of the animal from the guys at Revival Market if you just call ahead and give them time to get it in. B&W Meat Market on Shepherd is also a very reliable source, with whom I've had a "relationship" for many delicious years.

    Brooke Viggiano
    Brooke Viggiano

    I think so! And really now every time I look at the soup pic (which is way too often) I hear the song playing in my head.

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