In butchering a lamb, the vast quantity of leftover bones typically becomes a tasty snack and play toy for dogs. But if you can snag a fresh supply from your local meat shop, a distinctive stock awaits. "The stocks are so much better when [the bones] have never seen the freezer," says Reilly. The more meat left on the bones at the outset, the more robust flavors they will produce, so work with the butcher to find the appropriate selection. Once prepared, stocks become an essential foundation for a variety of high-level stews, soups, braises, and sauces.
(Yields about 2 gallons)
- 5 lbs lamb bones
- 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Parsley stems
With a cleaver, chop the bones into 4- or 5-inch pieces. Roast the bones on sheet trays at 350°F until well browned (about 30 minutes), then place them in a 2-gallon pot. Scrape off the browned bits from the sheetpan with a wooden spoon and a little water, and add directly to the pot. Next, add the vegetables, tomato paste, parsley stems, and one gallon of cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, and let the liquid cook at least 8 hours (or up to 12). Strain out the bones and veggies, then let the liquid cool. Finally, remove any solidified fat that rises to the top. The resulting stock can be frozen for up to one month.