Monday, February 25, 2013

Brown Sauce (Veal Stock) and a Bestie

Veal Stock
A bestie who can cook!
Today I have a double treat.  I'm going to share a recipe for one of the finest sauces you will ever taste and also introduce you to my oldest and dearest friend.  Denise and I count our friendship in decades and though, I won't tell you how many decades because that will depress me, we've been through it all together.  Schools, homes, new loves, lost loves, births, deaths, heartbreaks, disappointments and joys.  We've walked together for most of our lives and I can't imagine ever being without her.  I am also the reason she is now married to the love of her life and for that, she owes me forever!  Possibly into the afterlife as well...

Veal Stock
Making the gravy
As it happens, we are both currently fortunate enough to have the loves of our lives and the four of us got together recently to discuss brown sauce.  Also to have drinks, jovial company, great food and a good time had by all.  In addition to being a fellow doggie lover, she is also a hell of a cook and a couple of times a year, she and hubby Craig make a huge batch of veal stock (also known as brown sauce), freeze it in batches and share it with friends.  So, not only were Brian and I treated to her delicious dinner featuring the resulting gravy, we also went home with a container to use ourselves.

Veal Stock
Brian mixing up the cocktails
The original recipe came from The New York Times, years ago, and like all good cooks, she's put her own spin on it and tweaked it with this and that.  Although you might imagine that a veal stock would only pair well with red meat, she actually served it over chicken and we couldn't believe how much it enhanced the flavor.  Accompanied by roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables, it was fantastic.  When deciding how I would use it, I chose to make meatballs and noodles.  Again, the sauce enhanced the flavors wonderfully.

Veal Stock
Craig giving sous chef Hadley some love
There's no doubt that making the sauce is a project but, done in large batches and frozen, as Denise does, it's well worth it in order to have weeks and months of great eating.  Enjoy!

(adapted from The New York Times)

Veal Stock:
5 lbs. veal bones
1 Large onion, quartered
5 Small carrots, quartered
2 Stalks celery w/leaves, chopped
1/4 Teaspoon thyme
3 Bay leaves
3 Cloves garlic
1 Teaspoon crushed peppercorns
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup all purpose flour
3 Quarts water
1 1/4 Cups tomato puree
1/4 Cup leeks (green only), chopped
3 Sprigs parsley

(Note that Denise multiplied everything by 4 so there would be plenty of stock to freeze.)

Veal Stock
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Combine the bones, onion, carrots, celery, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic and salt in a roasting pan.  Bake for 45 minutes being careful not to let the bones burn.  Sprinkle with the flour and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Transfer to a large stock pot and add two cups of water to the roasting pan.  Deglaze the pan by cooking over low heat and stirring frequently to dissolve the particles in the pan and then add the liquid to the stock pot.  Add the remaining water, tomato puree, leeks and parsley to the stock pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours.  Strain and cool before refrigerating or freezing.

Mushroom Gravy:
1 Small onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 Pint prepared veal stock
1/4 Cup sweet sherry or red wine
1 Cup sliced mushrooms (I used button mushrooms)
Salt & pepper to taste

Veal Stock
My version of the gravy
Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the chopped onion and minced garlic.  Cook on low heat for a few minutes until translucent.  Whisk in the flour until a paste forms and slowly whisk in the veal stock.  Add the wine and the mushrooms and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and the sauce has thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.


  1. Awwww that is so wonderful that you guys have been friends for so long! That "brown sauce" sounds super delicious too!

  2. It sounds like you guys have a wonderful time together. Can I get in with your group? I could really use some of that tasty veal stock.

  3. That's so sweet! Looks like a great night :) And that sounds sounds delicious!

  4. What a great friend to have!! I hope my beastie and I will make it through thick and thin over decades!! Thanks for introducing us to your beastie and these two recipes. They sound so good. I'm going to have to try this for sure!!


  5. perfect evening :) great friends, food, cocktails and puppies. Life doesn't get much better!

  6. Everyone should have a bestie, they are lifesavers. This sauce sounds delicious and I'm bookmarking it.

  7. Wow! I could really love this - and you know how I love to make a bunch and can or freeze it for later. I must try it at least once - pinning! I think its wonderful that you have remained friends for so long - and BTW, she has a rockin' stove! :)

  8. Send some of the frozen leftovers my way!!! I want some of both sauces over some pierogi or buttery egg noodles asap!

  9. Veal stock is incredible stuff, I've yet to make it myself (hangs head in shame) but this post is a motivator for sure!

  10. There is nothing better than a good friend and a good meal.

  11. Good veal stock is a precious commodity--thanks for sharing this recipe and the lovely story about your friend.


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