Culinary Arts

Chef Thomas Keller's Veal Stock Recipe

Written by MasterClass

May 29, 2019 • 4 min read

Veal stock is an essential item at The French Laundry, but the method used to make it takes three days. This is a faster, simpler veal stock recipe that Chef Keller developed for home cooks.


What Do You Need to Make Homemade Stock?

This recipe uses a pressure cooker and takes hours—rather than days—but it also yields wonderfully versatile results. In a pressure cooker, the ingredients are steamed, not simmered, so they give off fewer impurities. As a consequence, the stock requires little to no skimming during cooking, though you will want to skim the fat after it has chilled. The stock has a beautiful clarity, and a lush color that comes from three sources: roasted veal bones, brûléed onions, and tomatoes.

Tips for Making Perfect Veal Stock

  • The cooking time for this home recipe may vary depending on your pressure cooker and the strength of your burner. But timing isn’t critical. Reading the gauge on your pressure is the key.
  • Chef Keller urges you to have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking. It will make the process smoother. Some of the ingredients, such as calf’s feet, may be difficult to find. All the more reason, Chef Keller says, to cultivate a relationship with your local butcher or grocer, who can work with you on getting what you need.

Chef Thomas Keller’s Veal Stock Recipe

This recipe will yield around 4 liters of veal stock, which you can refrigerate or freeze.

  • 3.2 kilograms (7 ½ pounds) veal osso bucco or meaty neck bones
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) canola oil
  • 500 grams (1 pound, or 5 large roma tomatoes, coarsely diced into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 calf’s foot, split (optional but recommended)
  • 250 grams (½ pound, or 1 medium) onion, bruléed
  • 500 grams (1 pound, or 2 medium) onions, peeled and sliced ⅜-inch thick
  • 500 grams (1 pound) carrots, peeled and sliced ⅜-inch thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 liters (4 quarts) water

*Ingredient note: substitute same beef products if veal is not available


  • 14-quart stainless steel pressure cooker
  • Large roasting pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Flat wooden spoon
  • Skimmer
  • Coarse strainer
  • Chinois
  • 2 heat-resistant 6-quart containers
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. If you have a convection oven, use convection for more efficient browning. Convection is not required, though.
  2. Dry the bones, cut the meat away, and slice the meat into ½-inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss the meat and bones in the oil to evenly coat, then arrange in a single layer in the roasting pan. Place the bones in the oven and roast; check after about 30 minutes and stir to expose unbrowned surfaces. Cook until they are deeply caramelized to a mahogany color, about 45 minutes. Continue roasting longer if necessary to achieve the color. While the bones are roasting, heat the pressure cooker over medium-high heat.
  3. Split one onion in half and remove the skin. Add about 3 tablespoons* oil to the pressure cooker and place the onion halves, cut side down, in the pressure cooker and swirl them around in the oil. Continue cooking until the onion is well-charred and black, about 10 minutes. Note: The exact amount is not important because the oil will all get skimmed off later in the cooking process. Remove the charred onion brûlée and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium then add the diced tomatoes. Continue cooking the tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize and the liquid is reduced—listen for them to stop sizzling.
  4. Deglaze the pressure cooker with a little water; then allow it to re-caramelize as before.
  5. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and take the veal out of the oven. Add the bones to the pressure cooker. Place the empty roasting pan on the stove over medium heat and deglaze the pan with half a liter of water. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up and dissolve as much of the caramelized juices from the pan as possible.
  6. Pour the jus into the pressure cooker. Add brûléed onions, mirepoix vegetables, herbs, and the calf’s foot (if using). Add 3 ½ liters of hot water to the pressure cooker, submerging everything inside. Stir the contents of the pressure cooker; then put the lid on and seal it.
  7. Begin bringing to pressure over medium heat and cook until it reaches 15 PSI. Once it reaches 15 PSI, turn down the heat and set the temperature to maintain 15 PSI for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to be released naturally.
  8. Remove the lid from the pressure cooker and scoop the bones and vegetables into a heat-resistant bowl using a skimmer. You may reserve the cooked meat for other uses or discard. Carefully strain the contents through a coarse strainer—which Chef Keller calls a China cap—into a heat-resistant container. Allow the solids to drain thoroughly. Strain the liquid again through the chinois into a second, clean container. Tap the rim of the strainer with a spoon to speed up the process. Let the container of stock cool by placing a lid or something else under part of the container, creating a passageway for air to circulate underneath the bottom. Then, transfer to an ice bath or the refrigerator and let it cool overnight.
  9. Once chilled, remove the solidified fat on the surface of the stock and discard. The stock may now be used or divided into sealed containers and frozen for prolonged storage. If you pour it hot into a container and store in the refrigerator, it will stay good for three days; after that, reboil it and restore. In the freezer, it will stay good for a month.

Find more culinary techniques in Chef Thomas Keller’s MasterClass.