Rich broth, regardless of the type, starts with good quality fresh ingredients. As long as the ingredients are clean, there is no need to go through too much trouble with peeling or dicing. I prefer bone broths and use just the meat that sticks to the bones I’m using. You can use raw bones or roasted bones; each imparts a different flavor and depth to your broth. Flavoring ingredients such as aromatic vegetables (onion, garlic), celery, carrots and bay leaf can be chopped coarse or cut in half to fit in the pot,. It’s OK to leave the peels on as long as they are washed.
Only make broth when you have plenty of time, because you must be patient, since broth is best when simmered slowly, never boiled. I like to prepare broth in three stages over the course of a few days. If you do this be sure to follow strict sanitation and temperature rules to ensure its safety. I plan broth preparation ahead over the course of 3 days – if I don’t have three consecutive days then I plan it over the course of three weeks. The point is to have the richest broth with a layered flavors, and this takes time.
Day 1: Make the broth, cool down, strain, store in a shallow container in the freezer to bring temperature down to 41°F in under four hours. I often wash the same soup pot while I stir the strained broth over an ice bath, then store in the freezer in the same soup pot until ready to go to step two on the second day.
Day 2: Heat broth until it’s thawed, add the meats, vegetables and herbs planned for this last stage and repeat the simmering, straining and cooling process. Store for the next step on day three.
Day 3: Repeat the steps taken the second day. Once strained, return to a clean soup pot. Adjust seasonings, add desired herbs and spices, simmer for at least one more hour. Most fresh herbs release their flavor in a short time and overcooking them may cause their oils to evaporate, so I like to save until this step. Strain again, clarify if needed. Cool down to 41°F and skim off all visible fat hardened on the surface before storing.
How do you store broth? You can store broth as cubes to use in small amounts or in quart containers. Although it's OK to use plastic containers my personal preference is for glass mason jars for longer freezing.
Is there a difference between broth and stock? It depends on who you ask. Some people use broth and stock interchangeably to mean the same thing, and others firmly believe that stock is just the beginning of the preparation and still need to go through more steps to be used as an ingredient or turned into a broth. A broth is ready to eat just as it is. Since I will not use an unfinished, unclarified stock as an ingredient, I use both words interchangeably.
- NOTE: To clarify a broth after straining and skimming the fat, mix 1 tablespoon cool tap water with 1 egg white and whip with a fork. Add to tepid broth and stir; bring to a boil, turn off heat and leave it alone without disturbing for 15 to 20 minutes. (Disclaimer: I love to watch the particles rise to the top as the egg whites trap them and start to float, so you can watch this fascinating process as long as you don’t participate by stirring or move the pot). I like to skim the particles off the top first, then strain. Once cooler I also strain through a tight cheesecloth. My dogs love broth making days as much as I do, as they get to eat the rich nutritious egg raft I just strained.