Veal Stock…In A Pressure Cooker 2

Veal stock is not something you see many recipes for never mind cooked in a pressure cooker so given the lack of information online I thought I’d write a post about how I make mine. I’d been wanting to try this method ever since I read an article about it in the Guardian years ago but it was only through a Christmas present I received recently that I finally got the chance.

It’s quite difficult to source veal meat (if you are, make sure to buy the rose type) in Ireland let alone bones so I end up buying them online in 15kg boxes from The Market Butcher in Rathcoole. I realise this is pretty hardcore but veal stock is definitely worth the hassle, you will notice a big difference in your sauces, stews and risotti especially; I wouldn’t go quite as far as Michael Ruhlman does but he’s definitely got a point.

Unfortunately, the bones I get have no meat on them and I’ve never been a fan of bone only stock so I compensate by adding some browned veal mince. It’s a ridiculous extravagance really and I’d say you could probably use cheaper minced beef instead to similar effect.

If your pressure cooker isn’t that big the recipe below can easily be halved to accommodate; I normally end up slightly overfilling my pot past the recommended two thirds full level which is not very clever because of the risk of overflowing: it’s sensible to be conservative when adding water to the pot.

The cooking time I’ve seen suggested for either veal or beef stock online and even in the booklet I got with my cooker is always about an hour but I find that this just isn’t long enough to extract all the bones’ gelatin which is the main reason for using veal to begin with. However, it is possible to cook for too long and what can happen is the bones disintegrate and give a horrible chalky taste and mouthfeel. This has never happened to me though and when I put the stock in the fridge after straining by the next morning it’s normally a solid block of jelly so I think I’ve got the timing right. After that I divide it up into food bags to be frozen but you can also reduce the liquid down until very concentrated and then put into ice cube trays.

Of course, the pressure cooker’s biggest advantage is not only the time saved but also the energy: before I used to put my pot in the oven at 95C and leave it cooking overnight for around sixteen hours; maybe I should have cut down a few trees as well to maximise the environmental damage. One downside I’ve noticed though is that, despite what Heston Blumenthal says in the article above, the stock does seem more cloudy than when done the conventional way but for me this really isn’t an issue because I don’t make dishes like consommé which require a perfectly clear broth. And even if I did, because I freeze it I can clarify by just using another of Blumenthal’s tricks called ice filtration. As a positive, the flavour from the pressure cooker stock does seem to me to be better but it could just be psychological because I haven’t done blind taste tests of the two types and nor do I intend to!


2kg veal bones
500g minced veal
100g onion, roughly chopped
50g carrot, roughly chopped
50g celery, roughly chopped
30g tomato paste
2 bay leaves
10 parsley stalks
2 sprigs thyme
10 peppercorns
2 garlic cloves crushed


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cover the bones in cold water and bring to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil remove from heat and discard the water. Wash the bones under cold water and rub off any scum that’s accumulated.
  3. Dry the bones and place them in the oven for 45 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure they brown evenly.
  4. Heat a frying pan on a high heat and fry the mince in some oil until browned. Shortly before it is done, add the tomato paste and cook until a deep red colour.
  5. Put all the ingredients (be sure to deglaze the pan with the mince in it) into the pressure cooker and cover with cold water.
  6. Bring it up to pressure as per the instructions and cook for 3 hours (timing is for a pressure cooker that only goes to 12psi).
  7. Take off the heat and allow the pressure to drop naturally. Do not use the quick release or the stock will boil.
  8. Remove the bones and strain out the other solids.
  9. Cool quickly (I find placing the pot in a sink filled with cold water and stirring for 5 minutes works well) and place in the fridge overnight.
  10. The following day remove the layer of fat from the stock. It will keep for three days in the fridge or over six months in the freezer.

2 thoughts on “Veal Stock…In A Pressure Cooker

  1. Reply Ivan Varian Feb 25, 2011 9:50 am

    Lovely recipe Stef, will try it out. For beef, and darker, stocks I tend to throw in a star anise and a dash of fish sauce. You won’t taste their respective flavours but they will help to accent the umami flavour of the stock.


    • Reply stefano Feb 25, 2011 10:02 am

      Yeah, I’ve seen that star anise trick before, apparently there’s flavour compounds in it that go well with the onions and the meat. How much fish sauce are we talking here? Just a dash or more?

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