Like liquid gold, good broth recipes are the foundation of good cooking. Their rich flavor makes the perfect base for delicious soups and stews. Or add a few chopped fresh herbs and minced garlic to the pot, and sip it on its own as a great way to bolster and support the immune system - especially during winter months.
They're also a great way to save money by minimizing food waste. It's the perfect way to use up leftover bones and vegetable scraps. So instead of throwing out your chicken carcasses, carrot peelings, and onion skins, toss them into a large pot instead.
Cover the scraps with enough water, and then set the heat to a low simmer, and you'll have delicious broth in no time. You can make a big batch over the weekend and toss it into the freezer to pull out when you need it. It's that simple.
What's in it?
Most broth recipes call for water, meat or bones, vegetables, and herbs such as bay leaves or thyme. An acidic ingredient, such as apple cider vinegar or wine balances its flavor.
In addition, the acidity of wine and vinegar helps to break down the connective tissues in meat and bones. As a result, your homemade broth will be richer in gelatin and amino acids. And that means better nutrition, and gorgeous, silky texture.
Meat forms the foundation of most broth recipes. A whole chicken (including the chicken meat) or meaty pork or beef shanks work well. These meat-based recipes are easy to make and need to only simmer for an hour or two to yield good results.
Bones form the foundation of bone broth. Look for leftover chicken bones, chicken feet, beef, or pork bones, depending on the recipe. Bone-based recipes need to simmer for a long time, often several hours.
Fresh vegetables are perfect for making vegetable stock or for adding flavor to meat and bone broths. For a classic veggie stock, you only need to simmer the vegetables for less than an hour.
It's quick and easy to make. Lots of vegetables work well in these recipes. Choose a variety of aromatic vegetables, such as onions, fresh ginger, garlic, leeks, and fennel, depending on the flavor you want.
Shiitake mushrooms and a spoonful of miso paste lend much-needed savoriness to vegetarian versions. And, it's a great idea to add plenty of greens at the very end of cooking for a boost of nutrition (and amazing flavor).
Wine and vinegar are naturally acidic. Their acidity brings a much-needed punch of brightness to most recipes.
Fresh herbs give food flavor. Because many herbs are tender and easily damaged with lengthy cooking, add them at the very end to preserve their flavor. You can add hardy herbs, such as fresh rosemary or a bay leaf or two, to your stockpot earlier as they withstand lengthy cooking.
Sea salt amplifies flavor. Add it at the very end of cooking, just before serving. Added too early, your broth may become too salty as the liquid in the pot evaporates.
How to Make It
Most broth recipes are easy to make. You start with plenty of cold water, add your ingredients to a large stockpot, and then bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Then you'll turn down the heat and let it cook for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the recipe. You'll follow a few basic steps. In addition to making it on the stove, you can also use an Instant Pot or slow cooker, if you prefer.
Roast or blanch your meat and bones. Roasting or blanching meat and bones improves the flavor of most broth recipes.
Add the ingredients to a big pot and cover them with cold water. Then bring the contents of the pot up to a boil, before turning down the heat to a low simmer. Simmer the ingredients for the length of time required in the recipe, which varies depending on the recipe.
Add herbs and greens at the end of cooking, if you're using them. This is especially true for herbs with tender leaves such as basil and parsley.
Strain. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and into mason jars. It'll keep for up to 6 months in the freezer or 5 days in the fridge.
These broth recipes are simple, approachable and easy to make. They include a wide variety of meat and bone broths, as well as herb-centric broths using medicinal mushrooms and anti-inflammatory herbs.