This is one of the first things young chefs learn how to make and with good reason. It is indispensable in a commercial kitchen. It is also a very handy ingredient to have at home for all sorts of sauces and soups. This stock freezes very well and if you reduce it to a demi-glace (I'll explain later) it will last in the refrigerator for months.
1 kg (2 lb) Marrow bones
1 kg (2 lb) Veal bones
1 Pig's trotter
2 onions, cut in half, skin on
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
30 ml (2 Tbs) olive oil
10 black peppercorns
2 Bay leaves
6 Parsley stalks
6 Thyme sprigs
500 ml (1 pint) Red wine
Ask your butcher to saw the bones into short lengths and cut the trotter down the middle into 2 pieces. Pre-heat your oven to 220°C (430°F). Place the bones and trotter into a large roasting tray. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Turn the bones over half way through. They should be nicely browned, but not black as this will give the stock an acrid taste.
In a second tray, place in the vegetables and the olive oil and toss to coat. Place in the oven alongside the bones and also roast for about half an hour.
Tip the bones and vegetables into a large stock pot. The tray with the bones in it will have some sediment stuck to the bottom. Place over heat on your stove top and add the wine. Stir to lift up the sediment and tip into the stock pot. Add all the remaining ingredients and fill the pot up with cold water.
Bring to the boil. Skim the foamy scum off the surface of the stock that forms as it comes to the boil. When the stock boils, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Simmer the stock for at least 7 hours or up to 12 hours. Turn the stock off before you go to bed and start it up again the next day if need be.
When the simmering time is up, remove from the heat and gently lift out the bones. Discard. Strain the stock and place in the fridge overnight to let the fat solidify on the surface. Remove this fat and you now have around 4 litres of delicious stock that can be used within a week or frozen. However, if you are interested in making Demi Glace, read on.
A lot of recipes call for demi-glace and causes concern for some home cooks. There is no need because a demi is simply a reduced veal stock
Place the de-fatted veal stock back into a clean stock pot and set over medium heat and simply simmer to reduce the volume to about a third or quarter of the original. Be very careful not to let the stock reduce too much and burn. If you are forgetful like me, set a timer. Taste some as it reduces to test the intensity and ladle a little onto a plate to test the consistency. It should be rich, shiny and a little sticky. Strain again through your finest sieve.
This can be used as is to sauce meat and some poultry dishes or used in recipes that call for demi-glace. It will last in the fridge for months.
This recipe may seem time consuming and complex, but the actual cooking time is very brief. The rest is all roasting, simmering and reducing, giving you time to read the paper with feet up, or whatever. This quantity will last the average home cook for ages.