Making your own broth is dead easy. Have you read the ingredients on a can or box of broth lately? Do you know what that stuff is? Me neither. Please please PLEASE make your own, freeze it and keep it on hand for soup, gravy, stew, in place of water when you make rice.
I covered making beef broth when I shared my french onion soup recipe, but I’ve had some questions recently about broth in general.
The very laziest way to make broth;
buy a pack of chicken necks and backs
or use the carcass from a roasted bird
Put the bones in a large pot, cover the bones with cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer and let simmer about 4 hours. Cool, drain and you have broth.
When I was in cooking school I learned many rules to making a good broth. In fine french cuisine what’s important is having a clear broth. Flavour was secondary. I am not going to pass on any advice about how to make a broth to impress a french cooking instructor. I would rather help you make a broth that is full of flavour.
-raw bones (from any animal-chicken, beef, fish) make a different broth than roasted bones. If you’re using the bones from a cooked bird, don’t roast them, but if you’re using raw bones, oil a rimmed baking sheet, then oil the bones and roast them at 425F for about half an hour until they’re golden. Making stock using roasted bones gives a richer, deeper, sweeter flavour to your broth and a darker colour.
-traditionally carrots, celery and onions are used to flavour broth. Peel them if you want and cut into large chunks. Use the papery onion peel too if you want-it will add a nice colour, but cut off the root end as it sometimes has dirt in it.
-same as with the bones you can choose to use raw or roasted veggies to enhance the flavour of your broth. Adding veggies to your broth adds a nice complex taste to your broth and using roasted veggies gives a deeper colour.
-pretty much any veggies can go into a broth. Try fennel, parsnips, tomatoes. Be careful not to use a strong vegetable like cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli as the flavours tend to be fairly bossy and will overpower the broth. I often save the tough bottom parts of asparagus in my freezer until I’m ready to make broth.
-traditionally, a bouquet garni is used to flavour a broth. You may use any combination of fresh or dried herbs to season your broth. Usually I save parsley stems in my freezer for broth and/or use dried parsley. I will also often season the broth with thyme, sage and bay leaves. Maybe some basil.
-whole peppercorns may be used as well
-do NOT add salt to your broth. Since you are making a general, all-purpose broth you don’t know what you’re going to use it for so leave it unsalted and salt the recipe you’re using it in.
Putting it all together;
-the above mentioned ingredients are suggestions. My broth is usually dictated by what I have on hand more than anything else, but you can feel free to do what makes sense to you. Be not afraid!
-put the bones, veggies and flavourings in a large pot. Cover all the ingredients with cold water. Put the lid on and turn the heat to medium. Once it’s simmering, turn it down to the lowest temperature you have and leave it to simmer. If you’re using big beef bones you’ll need at least 4 hours. Chicken necks and backs; 3 or 4 hours. Fish bones; 1 or 2 hours.
Turn off the heat and let it cool, then strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. This makes sure all the little chunks are out of your broth, but the flavour stays in.
Pour it in freezer baggies or plastic containers and freeze to use as you will.