What is Meat Stock?

Mary McMahon

Meat stock is a broth which has been flavored with meat. It is used as the base for many soups, and it can also be used to make sauces and marinades. Many people are familiar with chicken stock, a common form of this food, and it is also possible to find beef, lamb, and pork stock, along with stocks made from fish and more exotic animals. Stock is an immensely useful thing to have around the house, since it is so versatile and it can be used in a wide assortment of recipes.

Meat stock can be made by simmering browned meats and desired vegetables.
Meat stock can be made by simmering browned meats and desired vegetables.

To meat make stock, cooks simmer browned meat, bones, herbs, and mixed vegetables in water for an extended period of time to leach the flavor out of the meat and bones. The broth is typically simmered at a very low temperature, as high temperatures can burn the stock or cause it to become very frothy. After many hours of cooking, when the meat is falling apart and the broth is richly flavored, it is strained to remove the pieces of meat and vegetables and put back on the stove to be clarified.

Chicken stock is often used to add moisture during cooking.
Chicken stock is often used to add moisture during cooking.

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Clarifying and skimming help to remove fats so that the meat stock will not be greasy. Skimming is typically accomplished with a large, broad spoon which scoops up the fat that floats to the surface; clarifying can be accomplished by dropping an cracked egg into the broth. As the egg cooks, it will collect the impurities, allowing the cook to simply skim the egg out and remove the chunks of unwanted material.

Once meat stock has been prepared, it can be frozen for future use, refrigerated for several days, or used immediately as the base for a soup. A wide range of soups call for meat stock, and cooks can also improvise their own recipes. Small amounts of stock can also be used to deglaze pans, thin sauces, and flavor an assortment of other foods. Essentially, imagination is the only limit when making and using meat stock.

Many markets carry packaged meat stock for cooks who do not want to make it at home. While this alternative can certainly be useful, especially in a hurry, homemade stock tends to have a fuller, richer flavor and it is lower in sodium, which is a concern for some consumers. It is also easier to adjust the flavor of homemade meat stocks with the inclusion or omission of particular ingredients.

Meat stock is a broth that is flavored with various meats.
Meat stock is a broth that is flavored with various meats.

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Discussion Comments

FrameMaker

@alchemy- Talk to your local butcher to find veal bones. You do not need any cuts of meat to make the veal stock. I can give you a basic recipe for a dark veal stock. As for the procedure, follow that of other soup stocks.

Ask a butcher to cut your veal bones (neck and shank) into four-inch pieces. Roast the bones for an hour at 475 degrees, turning regularly. Once roasted, save the drippings, and place the bones in a pot with water (4 pounds of bones per gallon), onions, celery, carrots, tomato paste, red wine, and a sachet of herbs. Simmer for about 8 hours, adding water if the water level falls below the bones.

Once the stock is finished, strain the stock, and use it for your favorite recipes. If you are going to freeze the stock, simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. When using it after freezing, add i part stock, and one part water.

Alchemy

I love this site! What a great article. I never thought of making my own stocks, but it would make sense because I often buy whole chickens and cut them up myself. I do have a question though. How would I make a veal stock? Specifically, what cuts of veal would I use and where would I be able to find the bones?

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