Basic Homemade Meat Broth
52 weeks in Italy. Week Uno (one)
We had a couple of introductory episodes to our sojourn in Italy on the Galley podcast. Our first recipe assignment was to make a batch of Base brodo di carne fatto in casa, or Basic Homemade Meat Broth. The first recipe is a primary building block to a number of different Italian soups we’re planning to make in the next 52 weeks. Again, the text we are using is the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. You can pick this up at any bookstore or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and even find copies at Half Priced Books. On Amazon is has 4 ½ stars out of five based on 490 reviews.
Part of the reason we do Culinary Sojourns is to expand our knowledge of different regional and cultural cuisine. This sampling we do allows us to cook with different ingredients, learn new techniques, and experiment with different flavors. Since our focus is authentic Italian cuisine we will stay true to the recipe as much as possible.
We chose Basic Homemade Beef Broth because it is a primary component of a number of great soups we are planning in the coming weeks. It is also a good introduction to our primary Italian Cookbook text, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, the recipe is pretty basic with minimum number of ingredients. The recipe is found on page 15.
The sticking point to price sensitive people could be the cost of purchasing the meat for this recipe. We ended up making a double batch of the recipe and purchased about $30 of beef soup bones from our local supermarket. The price for beef bones was around $2.99 a pound which is about as cheap as you can get for purchasing beef. The soup bones had a fair proportion of attached beef so these were perfect for this recipe. One surprise for us when making this recipe is that we ended up yielding around four gallons of meat broth with the ingredients we used.
When you break down the cost of this component per serving of prepared soup it comes to around $0.46. So, it is pretty reasonable if you factor 1 cup broth for each serving of your average soup recipe. A good homemade broth or stock will take your soups to an entirely different level. There simply isn’t any comparison so we were well pleased when we ended up quite a bit more than what we expected.
Technique and Recipe Notes
The recipe is very straightforward. We deviated slightly by first roasting the beef soup bones in a 450 degree over for around 45 minutes. This gave us adequate time to prepare the vegetables while the bones were in the oven. Be sure to cover your ingredients with at least 2 inches of cold water and slowly bring to a boil and then reduce to the temperature to a very gentle simmer. The broth needs to cook at a simmer for around three hours. Be sure to skim the scum and extra fat that comes to the surface while the broth simmers. Once the broth is done you are going to strain the broth and cool using an ice bath to cool the broth quickly.
The next important step to making broth or a stock is to fully cool it in the refrigerator. We like to let it chill overnight to allow the fat to solidify on the surface of the broth. Simply scoop that off and then run it through a strainer lined with paper towels. Running four gallons through a strainer like this can be quite time consuming so you can strain what you need as you need it and freeze the rest.
Also, take into account you can do a second draw when you are using beef bones so don’t let the opportunity to further maximize your ingredients for this recipe, but you will need to repeat the process and will extend your time in the kitchen.
Well, in our next Culinary Sojourns through Italy, we are going to be making our first recipe using this broth we prepared. The first soup we’re going to make is Lentil with Arborio Rice or Lenticchie con zuppa di riso Arborio. This is a recipe that we are very much looking forward to. We’ve gotten our feet wet. Now we are going to become fully immersed in Italian cuisine. I hope you are following along and making these dishes with us.
As always, we’ll post progress photos on Facebook. So, you’ll want to keep checking back for that.
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