The leaves are falling, the days are shorter and it’s getting colder. That means, “Soup Season.” And behind every great soup is, great broth.
A trip to a grocery store will give you lots of options for broth: dehydrated cubes or powders or cartons of chicken, vegetable or beef stock. These are all fine, they work and I keep a carton of each on hand in my cupboard to whip up a quick soup for dinner. But, when I have the time, I like make my own bone or vegetable broth.
The number one reason? It tastes exactly the way I want. I load it with garlic and onions and herbs (because I love them) and season it just the way I like it. Number two reason? It’s cheap and this appeals to my thrifty side. I make a big ‘ol pot of it, cool it and store it in the freezer. It’s my base for soups (naturally), and I also use it for pasta and gravy.
All you need is a BIG stock pot and time.
Here are some tips to make better broth:
- Wait until you’ve finished simmering to salt your broth.
- Add between 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to your broth.
- If you want deep rich beef broth, try roasting the bones on a cookie sheet at 450 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
- The best bones are the gross bones: chicken feet and necks, beef tail and neck and knuckles will give you lots of collagen (make your broth gelatinous when it cools). Your local butcher is the best source for these.
- Don’t compost that! Carrot tops, beet tops, onion skins, and vegetable peels — all that stuff is great for broth.
- Consider using dried mushrooms for vegetable broth, to get a deep, rich flavour.
- If you have a fine mesh strainer, dump it all in the pot and strain it when it’s ready. You don’t need to put your herbs in a cheese cloth.
- Simmer chicken bones for 4 – 8 hours and beef bones for 12-18 hours. Top up with water if necessary.
- If you aren’t going to be around the kitchen, use a slow cooker, and simmer your broth on the low setting.
- Skim the broth regularly while it’s cooking and pour one cup of ice cubes in to collect excess fat off the top.
I could really go for some soup and fresh bread!