Stocking up – making clear broth from scratch
This is day 27 of the 30 Days of cooking from scratch challenge – #30fromscratch. We’re almost done. How has the challenge been for you? Are you achieving your goals?
In week 2, we talked about how to make cream soups, and béchamel sauce. Today I want to take you through the steps to make a clear consommé or bone broth. You will use a clear consommé or bone broth in place of a can of chicken stock, chicken or beef bouillon, or beef consommé – a clear, strained beef broth. One cup of rich, reduced stock is the equivalent of a 10 oz. can of chicken stock or beef consommé, or 2 bouillon cubes or 1 tsp. of powdered bouillon base. But homemade is healthier and tastier. It’s real food, not MSG laden, chemical fake-food that passes for real food from a can.
Stock, consommé, broth, are terms that are used interchangeably.
Making your own clear broth uses ingredients that you might be throwing away or feeding to your chickens. So it’s practically free but so healthy you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this for years. Clear stock and chicken soup are traditional foods fed to sick and convalescent folks. When you buy it in a can or a dry package it’s full of MSG, Corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients, but when you make it from scratch you control the ingredients, as well as the process.
Stock or Broth is another easy to make soup. You probably take the Christmas Turkey carcass and make turkey soup, by simmering the turkey bones in water for a few hours, removing the bones and taking off any meat and returning the meat to the broth and tossing the bones. That broth may have been reduced to half the amount by continued simmering and then either packaged in smaller portions for later use, or preserved by freezing or canning. When you make turkey soup you are making a stock from the bones.
Properly made broth will gel when cold. It contains the minerals, collagen, gelatin, and protein leached from the bones, muscles, and connective tissue of the animal that you are using. It is a very healing draught that repairs and strengthens the stomach, and the teeth. Traditionally it was prescribed by doctors to get patient back on their feet after a serious illness.
Having clear soup stock or bone broth on hand makes meal preparation from scratch easier. You can make the stock when you have extra vegetables or meaty bones. Clear soup is called consommé and many recipes call for a can of “chicken stock,” “beef consommé,” or “vegetable broth.” I’m going to show you an easy and inexpensive way to make stock or broth, that you may can or freeze for quick and easy meals, in the future.
What equipment you’ll need:
You’ll need a stock pot, or pasta pot, and a stove that you can safely simmer a large pot on. If you are busy you can even do this in a large crock pot and leave it cooking all day, instead of just a few hours that are required for stove top cooking.
Easy stock method:
Many people save vegetable peels, onion skins, leftover meat, extra bones, the green, leafy ends of celery, and even vegetable trimmings for soup stock. Meaty bones will offer their collagen to the broth, making it richer, healthier, and higher in protein. Ideally you want to have a gallon container in a freezer that you can add clean trimmings, peels, and bones as you get them. Add meat drippings left over from roasting meat or poultry, extra gravy, and small amounts of left overs. Do not add fat, grease, pasta or bread, mayonnaise or milk based foods. Once the container in your freezer is full, you simply dump it into your stock pot and fill with water to cover the vegetable scraps, add 1 tbsp. of cider vinegar to draw more minerals into the broth. Simmer on the stove for at least two hours on medium to low heat. You want it to simmer but not boil rapidly. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Once it is safe to handle, strain it through a coarse sieve to remove the peels and bones. Reserve the liquid and return it to the stock pot. Remove any meat from the bones and add it back into the stock pot with the liquid. Discard vegetable peels, and scraps. You can feed these to chickens or compost worms, once they are cool.
Meanwhile, finely chop onions, garlic, celery, parsley, and sauté in coconut oil or butter. Add to the strained broth in the stock pot. Add savoury herbs such as oregano, thyme, sage, and bay leaf, tied in a bundle (bouquet garni), and simmer together with the stock. Simmer together with broth, with the lid off, until the broth is reduced by half. Remove the bouquet garni spices. Strain if desired to make a clear broth. The meat has leached its collagen and protein into the broth and will be fairly tasteless, so you can strain it out or leave it in, depending on your final purpose for the broth. It’s up to you. Remove the fat from the surface of the broth, either by chilling to solidify and spooning off, or by skimming the surface to remove as much fat as possible.
Pour broth into pint canning jars and pressure can on 10lbs pressure for 20 minutes. You don’t need to add salt before canning, but you may if you wish. Or allow to cool, and put into freezer containers and freeze.
Use broth on a 1 to 1 ratio in any recipe calling for consommé or stock. You can also serve it heated up as soup and add noodles, grains, cereals, and additional vegetables, and cooked in the broth before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Let’s see the stock making method in action:
I have a 1 gallon bucket with a lid in my chest freezer. The bucket came with coconut oil and now that the coconut oil has been used up I’ll re-purpose this for my stock making scrap bucket. I chop up some onions for hamburgers. I check the peel and outer segment of the onion for mold. If there is no mold it can go in the bucket, including the paper skin. Don’t put anything that has even a speck of mold into your scrap bucket. Cut the mold away, before saving the good part. I wash and peel some carrots and put the peels into the scrap bucket. I bring in some peas from the garden and shell them and add the shells to the scrap bucket too. It doesn’t matter if the parts of the vegetables are normally edible, because they are added for flavour, vitamins, and richness. They will be strained out of the final stock. Even the ends of lettuce or the leaves of celery can be added to the stock to increase its richness and flavour. If you are making vegetable stock, add some spicy vegetables and herbs to give more complex flavour – peppers, garlic, celery, fennel, for instance.
Any meat juice from roasting or frying meat will also go into my bucket. If I have a roast, I might add the bone to the bucket, when I serve the roast to my family for dinner. I usually keep bones separate in Ziploc bags in my freezer, because this lets me make a poultry broth or a meat broth as I need it, rather than being stuck with what is already frozen in the stock scrap bucket. Make your broth as soon as the bucket is full.
When stock is reduced, skim any fat from the surface of the broth, before packaging or preserving by pressure canning. Fat may be clarified and used for other purposes.
If I just have one of two pints of broth, I will just put them into a Ziploc bag in my freezer. But when the garden is producing well and I have a lot of vegetables to use up before they spoil, I might do a mega-session of stock making over a few days and can it all in my pressure canner.
Pressure canning guidelines for clear broth or consommé:
For clear soup stock from beef, venison, lamb, goat, or chicken – Process at 10 lbs. pressure; 25 min. for quarts, 20 min. for pints.
How to spice up the broth:
Spices are what give stock their characteristic flavour. Parsley, sage, and thyme give chicken stock its “chicken” flavour. Beef stock is traditionally seasoned with onions, garlic, and dry mustard. Pick from the list below, according to your personal tastes and your ingredients on hand.
Chicken or rabbit stock – parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, marjoram, summer savoury, onions, shallots, green onions, chives, turmeric, peppers
Beef stock – onions, garlic, leeks, carrot tops, ginger, turmeric, peppers, dry mustard, paprika, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, shallots.
Venison or game meat – onions, garlic, turmeric, hot peppers, dry mustard, paprika, green pepper, celery, dill, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, marjoram, allspice, dry mustard, horseradish, thyme.
Now you’re ready to make clear stock from scratch – and it’s cheaper and better than store bought. Go to my Facebook page and tell me what you made.
Use this easy method for making soup stock and bone broths and you will always have health giving broth to feed to those recuperating from illness, or to enhance your own scratch cooking adventures, without ever buying MSG laden, fake-soup again.