• Sophia Dunkin-Hubby

Homemade Broths



I know it’s not technically Fall yet. In California the weather that I think of as Fall weather doesn’t start until October or even November. But the light has shifted, kids are back in school, and the mornings and nights are a little cooler. Which means my favorite season of the year is here.

My family eats a lot of soups in the Fall and Winter and I’ve taken to making broths from scratch to use instead of using canned or boxed. Not only is it healthier, but it smells amazing while it’s cooking and makes the whole house feel cozy. I put these on after dinner to cook before bed or on a weekend during the day when I know someone will be home. Once they’ve finished cooking and been degreased we freeze smaller portions for later use.

There are lots of recipes out there. Here are two of the ones I’ve adapted over the years, mostly based on Julia Child recipes from The Way To Cook.

I use beef, veal, or lamb bones for the “meat bones” in both recipes. You can use whatever you like or can get from the grocery store. Whole Foods usually has soup bones available prepacked in the meat section. If not ask at the butcher counter. They usually have something they can cut up for you in the back. I like to order bones in advance from a local specialty butcher so they come fresh. I make a fresh batch of broth and then freeze the rest. If you go this route make sure to portion them out before you freeze them. Otherwise you’ll end up hacking them apart or letting them all come to room temperature and then refreezing some of them.

Chicken Broth

Ingredients:

Chicken Bones – I use a whole chicken or whole legs plus some chicken pieces if I need the meat, a chicken carcass from a roasted chicken if we have one, or chicken pieces (2 chicken backs, 3 chicken wings, and 3 chicken livers) depending on what I need.

3-4 Meat Bones – Leave out if you want to make pure chicken broth, but adding meat bones to the pot makes the broth tastier.

1-2 Carrots chopped into 2-3 inch pieces each

1-2 stalks of Celery plus a few leaves from the center of the stalk, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces

1 Onion cut into quarters, with skin on

Optional – Leek, Shallot (I’ve used both of these in place of and in addition to the onion), Garlic, any root vegetable (parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, potato)

1 Bay Leaf

A few sprigs of Parsley (I prefer Italian to curly)

1 Tablespoon of Salt

5 Peppercorns

1 Tablespoon of dried Thyme

Water

1 large pot – I use either a spaghetti cooker with the colander part taken out or a 5-8 quart pot

Put all the ingredients in the pot (bones in the bottom) and fill with water, up to 2-3 inches below the edge of the pot. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a low simmer (the water should just be moving with the occasional bubble). Let cook for 2.5-3 hours.

NOTE – grey brown bubbles will form on the surface while it is coming to a boil. If it bothers you it can be skimmed off using a spoon. I used to do this, but stopped once I realized that it didn’t affect the taste of the broth. Your choice. If you do decide to skim, wait to add the thyme and salt until you’ve finished this step and are ready to turn the broth down to a low simmer. Otherwise, you’ll end up removing a lot of it.

Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of hours. Don’t cover as it will retain heat longer. Put in the refrigerator overnight. A layer of fat with congeal over the top. Remove from the refrigerator and scrape/skim off the fat. (Note – you need to do this promptly. Otherwise the fat will melt back into liquid form and it’ll be much more difficult to remove.) Discard (into the trash, not down the drain). Once the fat has been removed pull out the chicken. If you have used a whole chicken set aside to strip the meat off later. Otherwise discard the chicken pieces. Strain the broth into a bowl or other container and discard the vegetables. (These are soft enough to go down a garbage disposal if you have one.) Set aside anything you are going to use in the next couple of days and decant the rest into smaller containers to freeze. Since water based liquids expand when they freeze make sure to leave some room in the container. If kept in airtight containers the broth should keep for at least a couple of months.

Beef Broth

I say beef but I often use a mixture of lamb and beef bones because I like the taste. I’ve also made this recipe with just lamb bones.

Ingredients:

3-4 pounds of meat bones, depending on the size of your roasting pan and pot

2 Carrots chopped into 2-3 inch pieces

1-2 stalks of Celery plus a few leaves from the center of the stalk, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces

1 Onion cut into quarters, with skin on

Tomato – 1 fresh or ½ cup canned/boxed

Optional – Leek, Shallot (I’ve used both of these in place of and in addition to the onion), Garlic, any root vegetable (parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, potato)

1 Bay Leaf

A few sprigs of Parsley (I prefer Italian to curly)

1 Tablespoon of Salt

5 Peppercorns

1 Tablespoon of dried Thyme

Water

1 large pot – I use either a spaghetti cooker with the colander part taken out or a 5-8 quart pot

1 Roasting pan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all the meat bones and ½ cup each of chopped carrot, celery, and onion, into the roasting pan. Once the oven is hot put the roasting pan in the oven. Roast for 40-60 minutes until the bones are a nutty brown color. Baste the bones using the juice in the pan every 10-15 minutes. You can also manually turn the bones over so they roast evenly.

Remove the bones and vegetables to the pot. Place the rest of the ingredients, except for the water, into the pot.

Deglaze the roasting pan. Pour off the fat, into a bowl. I also wipe down the pot with a paper towel. The fat should be allowed to congeal before being thrown in the garbage (not down the drain). Pour ½ -1 cup of hot water into the roasting pan. Place pan on the stove and turn on the front burner. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, gently tipping the pan so water covers the area that you are working on, until you’ve scraped up the majority of the residue sticking to the bottom of the pan. The water will start to evaporate as you do this. This is normal. Pour the remaining water and the scrapings into the pot. Add water until it reaches 2-3 inches below the edge of the pot.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer (the water should just be moving with the occasional bubble). Let cook for 3-4 hours.

NOTE – grey brown bubbles will form on the surface while it is coming to a boil. If it bothers you it can be skimmed off using a spoon. I used to do this, but stopped once I realized that it didn’t affect the taste of the broth. Your choice. If you do decide to skim, wait to add the thyme and salt until you’ve finished this step and are ready to turn the broth down to a low simmer. Otherwise, you’ll end up removing a lot of it.

Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of hours. Don’t cover as it will retain heat longer. Put in the refrigerator overnight. A layer of fat with congeal over the top. Remove from the refrigerator and scrape/skim off the fat. (Note – you need to do this promptly. Otherwise the fat will melt back into liquid form and it’ll be much more difficult to remove.) Discard (into the trash, not down the drain). Once the fat has been removed pull out the bones. Discard. Strain the broth into a bowl or other container and discard the vegetables. (These are soft enough to go down a garbage disposal if you have one.) Set aside anything you are going to use in the next couple of days and decant the rest into smaller containers to freeze. Since water based liquids expand when they freeze make sure to leave some room in the container. If kept in airtight containers the broth should keep for at least a couple of months.

Do you have a favorite broth recipe?

Photo by me.

#WhatImeating

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