Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Broth serves as a basis in which most things are built upon. You can use it for ramen, for pot roast, for soups, even drink it straight. The list seriously can go on and on.
Broth is how you make the best of those scraps from cutting up your own meat or raiding the manager's special section of the grocery. Super easy to do, and much better tasting than what you would buy at the store.
meat and bones (great way to use all those scraps from meals throughout the month)
2 quarts water per pound of meat and bones
All broth (that's not vegetarian) comes down to meat and water (think hot ham water in Arrested Development). For our broth, we prefer to use the dark meats of the chicken because it contains more gelatin and gives the broth more body. Really, you can use whatever kinds of bones you want, we just happened to have a lot of chicken bones because that's what we eat the most.
1. Cook the meat and bones
If you use a regular pot:
All you gotta do is heat up some water to a boil, put your meat scraps in, and keep the pot at a simmer for about 6 hours.
If you use a pressure cooker:
Or you can be lazy like us and pressure cook it for 2 hours.
Fun fact: ramen broth is kept at a higher temperature for a long time to encourage the bubbling action to emulsify the broth hence the general thick look of ramen broths.
2. Strain the liquid
Once you're done cooking, strain the liquid. Do not squeeze it or push it. Just let the liquid drain using a strainer. We actually use our steamer to drain the liquid.
3. Bottle, store, and enjoy!
If the amount of fat extracted from the meat and skins makes you nervous as you can clearly see at the top of the jar in the video, you can refrigerate the broth and the fat will solidify on top where you can just take it out. Use can use it for cooking, or just throw it out.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you want to try and incorporate the fat into your broth, you can blend the broth with a little soy lecithin.
Variations and Extra Tips:
Here a a bunch of other variations and options to enhance your broths and general cooking options:
Other Flavorings: Carrots, celery and onions are common additions for more flavorful broths. Josh likes to make it in a similar fashion of ramen broth with the use of onions, green onions, leeks, ginger, and garlic.
You can make it much more interesting by roasting/searing any or all the ingredients. Due to a general lack of real estate in the pot, we generally do the meat part first, then simmer any other vegetables for 30 minutes to an hour and strain but if you have a big enough put, feel free to do it all in one go.
Vinegar: you can get more nutrients out of the bones by adding a little bit of vinegar (about 1 tsp per gallon). The goal is to make the liquid slightly acidic to help leach out nutrients from the bones. Flavor as you desire; we're big fans of mushrooms and leeks.
Demi Glace / Glace de Viande: This is what Josh makes when we have a lot of broth made and can't use it fast enough. Take your filtered stock and reduce (simmer to evaporate the water) it as much as possible. You'll end up with something thick and syrupy that when you let it cool down, you get gelled broth (same thing as those instant boullion broth flavor gel packs in the grocery). They store quite nicely in the freezer.
Consomme: If you read any old book on french cooking, consomme is a relatively common recipe. And if you read that recipe, you'll quickly find out how much work it takes to make consomme (spoilers: it's a lot). Fortunately with the rise of molecular gastronomy, we can be real lazy but the trade off is that we have to be super patient. At *most* you need 1 box of Knox gelatin (4 packets of 28 g gelatin, assuming your liquid contains no gelatin) per gallon but may need less depending on how much skins you have in your broth.
With the broth hot, thoroughly mix with the gelatin and let it set in the fridge. Once set, freeze the gelatin. Now that it's frozen, put a cheesecloth over a bowl and let the frozen gelatin melt and strain in the fridge. This will take a few days depending on how much you want to make. You'll end up with less liquid because some of it stays with the gelatin. The end result is pure flavored liquid without any fat or gelatin so it might "feel" weird from the lack of these things.
Broth is extremely open ended and flexible so feel free to experiment with recipes and see what you like best!