How to Make Lamb Stock

Irish stew recipes usually call for the use of chicken stock when surely lamb stock would be more appropriate
Irish stew recipes usually call for the use of chicken stock when surely lamb stock would be more appropriate | Source

Why is it that so often recipes for Irish stew, or casseroles incorporating lamb, will call for the inclusion of chicken stock, rather than lamb stock? While chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock and even fish stock are all commonly called for in cooking, lamb stock is not an ingredient we see frequently mentioned. One of the main reasons for this is that lamb or mutton stock can be very greasy, simply due to the high fat content of the meat. This can have an adverse effect on any finished dish and spoil an otherwise perfect culinary creation. This really simple recipe for lamb stock, however, will show you how to eliminate most if not all of that grease from your finished product and provide you with perfect lamb stock for use in your recipes. Use it immediately, keep it in the fridge for up to a couple of days, or freeze in batches for up to three months.

Lamb Bones are the Principal Ingredient of Lamb Stock

Lamb bones should be available extremely inexpensively from your butcher's or supermarket
Lamb bones should be available extremely inexpensively from your butcher's or supermarket

Lamb is often a moderately expensive meat to buy, costing more than pork and even beef. That factor should not, however, apply to lamb bones and you may be surprised to find them ridiculously inexpensive. The three-quarters pound of lamb bones used in the making of this stock cost the princely sum of 26 British pence (approximately 40 US cents) from the supermarket. If you don't see lamb bones displayed in your local supermarket or butcher's shop, ask if they can get/keep some for you and how much they are likely to cost.

Lamb Stock Ingredients and Initial Preparation Method

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Vegetables for lamb stockVegetables are roughly chopped before going in to stock potVegetables are briefly sauteed in olive oilLamb bones are added to sauteed vegetablesLamb bones are browned before water is addedWater is added to stock pot and brought to a simmer
Vegetables for lamb stock
Vegetables for lamb stock
Vegetables are roughly chopped before going in to stock pot
Vegetables are roughly chopped before going in to stock pot
Vegetables are briefly sauteed in olive oil
Vegetables are briefly sauteed in olive oil
Lamb bones are added to sauteed vegetables
Lamb bones are added to sauteed vegetables
Lamb bones are browned before water is added
Lamb bones are browned before water is added
Water is added to stock pot and brought to a simmer
Water is added to stock pot and brought to a simmer

Stock Ingredients

¾ lb lamb bones
2 small carrots
1 stick of celery
2 small onions
2 tbsp olive oil
Small bunch fresh mint
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
3 to 4 pints of water

Wash the carrots and celery stick and roughly chop. Peel the onions and cut in to quarters. Put the olive oil in to a stock or other large pot and on to a low to medium heat. Only the carrot, celery and onion should then be added initially and stirred around in the warming oil for two to three minutes to let the flavours start working. After this time, add the beef bones and briefly stir them around to brown them all over.

Pour enough cold water in to the pot to completely submerge all the ingredients and add a similar depth again. For example, if it takes about a two inch depth of water to cover the bones, the total depth should be made to be four inches. Add the whole black peppercorns and the mint and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to achieve only a gentle simmer for about two hours or until the water depth has been reduced by half.

Straining and Final Preparation of the Lamb Stock

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After two hours, the liquid in the lamb stock has been reduced by halfThe solids are removed from the lamb stock with a slotted spoon and discardedThe remaining impurities are ready to be strained from the lamb stockA fine sieve is suspended over a large bowl to strain the lamb stockA lining of kitchen paper in the sieve will strain the finest impurities and much of the fat from the stockThe fat from the lamb stock can be seen to be trapped in the kitchen paperPure, sieved lamb stock
After two hours, the liquid in the lamb stock has been reduced by half
After two hours, the liquid in the lamb stock has been reduced by half
The solids are removed from the lamb stock with a slotted spoon and discarded
The solids are removed from the lamb stock with a slotted spoon and discarded
The remaining impurities are ready to be strained from the lamb stock
The remaining impurities are ready to be strained from the lamb stock
A fine sieve is suspended over a large bowl to strain the lamb stock
A fine sieve is suspended over a large bowl to strain the lamb stock
A lining of kitchen paper in the sieve will strain the finest impurities and much of the fat from the stock
A lining of kitchen paper in the sieve will strain the finest impurities and much of the fat from the stock
The fat from the lamb stock can be seen to be trapped in the kitchen paper
The fat from the lamb stock can be seen to be trapped in the kitchen paper
Pure, sieved lamb stock
Pure, sieved lamb stock

After about two hours - or when the liquid in the pot can be seen to have been reduced by about half - turn off the heat. A large slotted spoon is the ideal tool for removing and discarding the larger solid ingredients. Cover the pot and leave to partially cool for about an hour.

Suspend a fine sieve over a large bowl and line it with three or four sheets of kitchen paper. Carefully and gradually pour in the stock. The kitchen paper and sieve will catch the remaining small solids such as the peppercorns, as well as most of the fat, grease and oil. The lamb stock is then ready for immediate use or refrigeration/freezing until it is required.

This fresh lamb stock was refrigerated overnight in a plastic dish to be used in the preparation of casseroled lamb chops the following evening
This fresh lamb stock was refrigerated overnight in a plastic dish to be used in the preparation of casseroled lamb chops the following evening
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