Ask Peter: Stocks & broths with a recipe for bone broth
After cooking your great meaty ribs recipe published in Bite recently I have an oriental flavoured jellied stock left over. It is far too good to waste. Any suggestions for using it other than Vietnamese pho? Thanks, Ann Jepson.
I’m so pleased you didn’t tip it down the sink, as I’m sure many people would have.
Every time I poach a chicken, either whole, or just a dozen legs for a salad for a light lunch, I always keep the stock. I’ll take the meat off the bird and then return the bones and skin to the strained poaching liquid, add a fresh batch of veges and simmer it for a few hours which gives me a delicious stock which can then be strained again, and reduced to a quarter of its volume on arolling boil, and frozen for later use.
The same with the broth from the ribs. It may be that it’s quite intense due to all the aromatics, soy sauce etc you’ve added, so reducing it could make it very salty. But use it as the base stock in a risotto, or as the main liquid in a bechamel style sauce (with some milk added) for macaroni cheese; add to diced roast vegetables and lentils and cook into a soup. Use as some of the liquid (along with milk or cream) to make a rich polenta, poach red veal for vitello tonnato … the uses for stock are endless.
While on the subject of stock and broths, I’m not sure if you’re aware of the fascination of an old cooking technique our grandparents would have been doing before time and processed foods took over many kitchens. Bone broths are all the rage in hipster neighbourhoods and paleo diet obsessed homes across the United States, and I’m sure it will be creeping into New Zealand and elsewhere soon. This fad, however, is a good one, so it’s somewhat less eye-rolling than others. People are discovering the health benefits of stocks and broths. They are more or less the same thing although in my mind a broth may contain lumps and chunks of veges, be somewhat "thicker'’ than a stock, and likely be cooked longer and at a slightly higher temperature.
The theory of both, in this new health craze, is that by cooking bones, with marrow intact, gnarly bits with lots of collagen and cartilage such as knuckles, shins and necks, pork skin and the like, you will digest plenty of collagen which is good for your hair and nails (hence its uptake by the beauty conscious — especially among women) and it’ll be good for bones and joints (the active and fit gym folk). It is also believed that these broths can help (and don’t quote me on this as I haven’t found any conclusive evidence on the web) with digestive problems and inflammatory disease.
Renie Gold, the Jewish neighbour of my gran Molly Gordon, was a staunch believer in what we know of as Jewish penicillin: chicken broth cooked for hours, served as they do at Federal Deli, with matzo balls and chunks of poached chicken and vegetables. I had a bowl recently and have to say it certainly cheered my jet-lagged body up. Like most traditional foods, broths are slowly cooked and have always been known to be beneficial to your health. In winter, on a wet and windy day, would you rather have a cappuccino or a bowl of meat broth? For me it will always be the latter.
When I don’t have stock to hand, then it’s a few teaspoons of miso paste stirred into a mix of boiling water with a grating of fresh ginger to warm the cockles of my heart.
Bone broth recipe
To make your own bone broth, use bones from the best quality beasts you can. The fewer hormones and chemicals the animals have been fed the better, as you’ll be concentrating them down as you cook the broth. Use gnarly bits: bones and bone marrow, and pork skin is full of goodness. Get your butcher to chop up the bones into 4-6cm pieces then lightly roast them in a pan until just past golden brown. Don’t burn as it’ll make the broth bitter.
Throw them in the biggest pot you have and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then tip the liquid off and rinse the bones gently. Top up with fresh water and bring to a boil for 15 minutes with the lid on, then reduce to a rolling simmer and sit the lid ajar on the pot.
Skim off any fat that rises for the first 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to a gentle simmer.
Add 100ml vinegar, or 2 Tbsp tomato paste or a glass of wine (you need to add a little acidity) and large chunks of peeled veges — carrots, onions, sliced ginger, celeriac, garlic, lemongrass etc. If using just beef, lamb or venison bones, cook for at least seven hours.
Poultry will be ready in four, and a combination (in the United States beef and turkey seem to be soulmates) cook for seven hours.
Strain the broth once it tastes rich and good, and then store in the fridge or freezer, adding a little salt if you think it needs it. Perfect for your post-gym workout, and also for warming the kids up when they get in from a sports day.
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