Easy Peasy Chicken or Beef Broth


2018-02-16

I’ve been making my own meat & bone broth for over five years. I sometimes like to look back at my precarious beginnings and indulge in the sweet realization of self-improvement. I’ll spare you the details because they would destroy my renowned reputation. This recipe is meant to help you start on the right foot in the world of homemade broth. I’ll provide you with a strong base that will allow you to obtain a successful result. This is starting to sound like a commercial, so let’s get on with the recipe, shall we?

Basic guidelines:

1. Vegetables: the rule of the three p’s

The name of this rule won’t make any sense to you unless you’re knowledgeable in Finnish language, so let me explain. Two years ago my boyfriend and I attended a street food festival in Helsinki called Ravintolapäivä (engl. Restaurant Day), which has been occurring every three months since 2011. The idea behind this event is that anyone can open up a restaurant for the day and sell the food they’ve cooked. Usually people spread the word about their upcoming pop-up restaurants via Facebook events, which is how I got to know that there would be a paleo pop-up selling chicken and beef bone broth. At that point I was pretty satisfied with my own version of chicken broth, which is why I decided to try out their beef broth to see if I could learn anything from it. It was delicious, so I asked the cooks if they’d be so kind to share a few tips with me. They told me they used their grandma’s recipe, who had told them to only use carrot, parsnip and leek. Porkkana, palsternakka and purjo in Finnish.

I’ve been following this rule ever since and it has greatly improved the flavor of my homemade broth.

2. Aim for a proper meat to vegetable ratio

As important as it is to use the right kind of vegetables, it’s fundamental that you don’t overload the pot with them, and by that I mean using a very small amount. One thing I do is use all the discardable bits such as the peal from one carrot and one parsnip, and the first layer of one leek. Then, I use the rest in other recipes.

By following this tiny piece of advice, you’re not only making sure to get the right meat to vegetable ratio, but you’re also avoiding food waste. I used to add all kinds of root vegetables to the broth, which would then all go to waste once the stock had been strained.

Sources: grandma, who taught me how to make the broth used in sopa de galets, a traditional Catalan soup eaten on Christmas day. She advised me not to add too many vegetables to the soup. I got the idea of using the discardable bits from this video.

3. Use both bones and meat

This goes both ways. If what you want to make is bone broth, it’s essential to add some meat to give it a nice taste. If, instead, what you want to make is meat broth, I recommend adding a bone or two for added nutrition. Using a whole bird or a bony piece of meat (i.e. ox tail and osso bucco) is perfect.

4. Don’t be afraid of lengthy simmering times

It’s important to let things simmer for a long time. I’d recommend 10 hours for chicken or meat broth, and 20+ hours for bone broth. If you’re someone who’s been doing homemade broth for some time and would like to upgrade their tools, I’d highly recommend investing in a slow cooker.
Back in the day, I used a dutch oven that I would place on top of the stove. Even though the lid was so heavy, liquid would bubble out of the pot. To avoid that, I’d place two chopsticks between the lid and the pot to let some air flow and avoid spillage. Which in turn meant that I had to keep an eye on it to make sure there was enough water. I actually managed to burn the ingredients three times (two of which happened on the same day). I’d also have to pause during the night and start again the next morning. Thankfully, two years later, my boyfriend and I bought a slow cooker, which allows us to literally let the broth simmer while we’re sleeping. As a student who doesn’t eat at the university cafe and instead preferes to eat her own food, this device has quite literally saved me life.

Now, I’m not an advocate for mindlessly buying stuff. So if you’re someone who just wants to try out this bone broth trend, I’d recommend against purchasing anything and instead using what you already have. Buy according to your present needs, not your hopes or plans for the future.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken or a big bony piece of beef
  • 1 parsnip peel + discardable bits
  • 1 leek outer layer + discardable bits
  • 1 carrot peel + discardable bits
  • Black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Water

Preparation:

  1. Place everything into a slow cooker, add water until all the ingredients are fully covered and cover with a lid.
  2. Cook on low setting for 10 hours.
  3. Go to bed.
  4. Wake up the next morning to the smell of delicious broth.
  5. You’re welcome.