Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frugal Luxuries: Broth – Too Simple for Words…

…or is it? bwahaha!

Yes, we’re talking broth today. Or stock. Choose your favorite word. I’ll be using both. The definitions contradict each other saying that the other one is the one with chunks, but I’m referring to flavored water with no chunks. In my mind (related to this topic at least) chunks=soup. Lots of chunks=stew. No chunks=broth/stock.

I use chicken broth the most, so that’s what I’ll be referring to today. But you can also make vegetable, pork, or beef broth. (Apparently pork broth is a hot topic? Odd. Maybe because of its strong flavor, and that a lot of Western style recipes are chicken or beef based? Your thoughts? I’m loving the comments over here.)

My basic stock making method:

Step 1: Start with a gallon freezer bag (clearly labeled, we don’t want mixup on this one) kept in the freezer. Put chicken bones and vegetable trimmings in the bag.
Note: Good vegetables to use are celery, onion, carrot. Potatoes don’t tend to add a lot of flavor. Mushrooms are so/so. Tomatoes are generally not used, but you might dig them.

Step 2
Step 2: When the bag is full, dump the contents in a big pot, fill with water, and simmer for a few hours. Two hours seem to be the minimum. If desired, add in salt, garlic, and spices. I put in a little salt but hold off on the spices etc, I add that later when I’m prepping the actual dish I’m using the broth in.

Step 3: Let the pot cool.

Step 4: Strain out the solids and discard them.
Step 4
Note: To make the straining out process even easier, I have a stock pot that has a nesting colander. It’s pretty spiffy. I put the colander in the pot and then put the stock ingredients into the colander. It makes Step 4 a breeze.

Step 5: Admire your broth. Skim off fat once it cools. Store in the fridge or freezer.

My broth came out pretty thinly flavored – but I also stretched it to 10 quarts. I’m ok with that because I tend to add a lot of other flavor (herbs, spices, meat) when using stock in recipes. You may want to add less water to get a stronger flavored broth.

It really is ridiculously inexpensive since you’re using things that you’d throw away anyhow, minimal spices, and water. It’s almost free! Way better than paying over a dollar per quart in the store!


LuLu Kellogg said...

I am back from my trip to CA and now trying to catch up on my Blog visits!

Love the details on the broth!


~ Regan said...

I love to make my own broth, too... Veg and chicken. How do you go about making beef when there are no bones? Do you just use the left over bits?

Thanks for swinging by this morning- I'm starting my 'salad' garden. (Well just the greens any way...) this way, if I have to, I can just plant them in containers. My garden space still isn't cleared out. :/ so far, I have spinach, two types of green leafy lettuce, radishes, and dill. Soon, I will get some tomatoes and cukes.
Can't wait to see/ read more about your garden!

Jessie said...

I usually use the juices from pot roast in the crock pot for beef broth. If you get T bone steak you can use that bone, or you can ask the butcher's counter if they have some bones you could buy for cheap.

Sounds like you're to a good start with your garden! And, if you have the leafy greens in pots it can look nice enough to put on the front porch. :)