Cool weather comes around and I start craving warm liquids of all kinds. Growing up, the part of being sick that I looked forward to was the chicken broth, laden with warming spices, administered as medicine and a cure-all. Now, I love broth in every form and at any time. Broth for breakfast, broth for dinner and for an anywhere-in-between pick-me-up. We have sipped large amounts of this nutritious, full of umami, potion from Brodo in the East Village and our local grocery store, Provisions in Fort Greene, over time. Inspired, I started making my own.
It may seem daunting but if you get the basics sorted, it is easy and comfortingly ritualistic. You need a few essential cooking utensils and sufficient time and space to tend to a large, slowly simmering pot for 12 hours if possible. The delicious smell wafting through the house on cold winter days and the large jars of golden elixir that it yields to do with as you please are so worth it.
I found the following useful:
- Mesh skimmer – as the broth cooks, impurities will rise to the surface. The skimmer will be handy to remove these. Also, needed to finely strain broth when finished.
- Tongs – to handle the bones.
- Slotted ladle – to remove the vegetables.
- Stockpot – I use a 16 quarts pot.
- Baking dish – for roasting the bones.
As for the bones, I would suggest you get a mixture and make sure that they are grass-fed. It never hurts to ask your local butcher for guidance. Some with meat add more flavor and the roasted meat can be made into delicious croquettes later.
3 lbs. beef bones ( a mixture of neck, knuckles and shin)
3-4 celery stalks
1 large onions
Handful of thyme, rosemary and any other herbs at home
2 tbsp. Tomato paste
Ginger root, roughly chopped and grated
Turmeric root, roughly chopped and grated
6 black peppercorn
2 large black cardamom
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place the bones in a baking dish or cast iron pan. Let the bones roast for an hour, turning them over in 30 minutes.
- Transfer the bones to the stockpot and add cold water, enough to cover the bones completely. The water should clear the bones by about 4-5 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Impurities will rise to the top. Use the ladle or the skimmer to remove these.
- While waiting for the water to boil, prep the veges. The base is a traditional mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions. Add any others that you may want. I added a large scallion, ginger and turmeric root. Chop them all up roughly.
- Once the water has boiled, reduce heat till the liquid comes to a low simmer. Skim the surface again for impurities. Add the veges, spices, herb mix and tomato paste. Make sure that the added ingredients are covered well by the water.
- Cook without cover and on a low simmer for 8 to 12 hours. Keep skimming the surface.
- Once done, remove and strain the liquid.
- Enjoy a cup immediately with more grated ginger, turmeric, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and salt if desired.
- Let the remaining broth cool slightly. Transfer storage jar and refrigerate. Once chilled, the broth will form a layer of solid fat on top. Remove and discard. The broth stays well in the fridge for about a week. It can also be frozen to be used within 8 months.
- To serve, heat up a cupful with some grated ginger, turmeric and salt to taste.