Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homemade Meat Broth

Most people these days throw away the turkey carcass and ham bone remains of their Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. I put them in a ziplock bag and stick them in the freezer until I have a chance to turn them into broth. A good meat broth is the key to making any good soup or stew as well as a few other things. It's also a good way to save money by getting the last little bit of goody out of your bones and turkey/chicken/ham remnants. I also never buy bouillon.

This is a very easy process but it is a long process spanning two or three days during which time you will need stove space and refrigerator space. The longer you cook the bones and meat, the better the broth will be and the more nutrients will be released from the bones/marrow and into the broth. I am describe the process that I use below. If you do not wish to cook your stock as long as I do, please cook it for at least 6 hours.

You can keep your meat types segregated, if you wish, and make only chicken broth, or only ham broth, for example. There may be some cases where this is desired for specific taste or religious purposes. You certainly would not want to entertain a Jewish or a Muslim friend with homemade soup that included broth made from ham bones. However, most of the time, I toss all my saved bones and carcasses into a single pot and the flavor tastes just fine for me and my family.

This process works for wild game remnants as well. We eat a lot of venison, goose, pheasant, and duck. These all cook down into broth very nicely.


The Midwest Texan's Homemade Meat Broth

1. Place left over carcass(es) into a large stock pot. You may need to break large carcass(es) into smaller pieces for a good fit. The number/amount of carcasses depends on the size of stock pot and the amount of space in your freezer for broth storage.

2. Add enough water to cover all of the bones/meat.

3. If you wish you may add any or all of the following optional ingredients to suite your taste:
1 bay leaf
2 celery stalks, with leaves
1 onion, cut up into about 12 chunks
1 tsp thyme
1 tbs parsley

4. Cover and bring a boil stirring occasionally. Then reduce heat, leave covered, and simmer for 24 hours. Do not leave on the stove over night or if you are away from your home. Simply place the stock pot into the refrigerator before you go to bed. The next morning, place it back on the stove, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and return it to simmering.

5. As it simmers, add water as needed to keep the liquid level above the level of the bones/meat. Stir occasionally.

6. Once simmering is complete, turn off the stove and allow the stock pot to cool at room temperature until you are able to handle the bones inside.

7. Now for the messy part of the process, so roll up your sleeves. Remove and throw away all of the bones, cartilage, and bay leaf. Remove and reserve all of the meat for use in soups or other recipes. Remove and either throw away the vegetables or reserve them for use in soups. You can also puree the vegetables and add the puree back into the finished broth at the end of this process. I use a colander and bowl large enough to capture the liquids to facilitate this step.

8. Optional step: Once the bones and other solids have been removed, you may wish to strain the liquids through several layers of cheese cloth to clarify it. Some chefs believe that stock or broth should be nice and clear. I, however, am not one of them; so I never do this.

9. Cover the strained broth and place in the refrigerator over night. The next morning any fat should be congealed on the top of the broth. Remove and throw away the congealed fat. Add the pureed stock vegetables back into the broth, if desired and mix well.

10. Store your broth in the freezer in any containers/amounts you wish. Or, use it immediately to make soup.

Tip: I like to freeze my excess broth in ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen you can pop them out of the tray and keep them in a ziplock in the freezer. Each cube is roughly 2 to 3 tablespoons or equivalent to 1 bouillon cube.

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