Homemade broth: how the essential ingredient for tastier dishes is made (and everything you need to know to always have it on hand)

When facing the challenge of organizing the weekly menu, we can always reserve a space for the infallible proposals that are devastating or look for solutions that give us a break. But when it comes to putting on our aprons and standing in front of the kitchen, each family recipe book has dishes that always work and prevent us from breaking our heads too much. But, are you one of those who think they could be better? If the answer to this question is yes, we have what you need. because if there is a essential ingredient to make our dishes more tasty that’s the homemade broth.

The kitchen, like life itself, has evolved tremendously, and not so long ago we saw how our mothers resorted to the bouillon pill To give more flavor to your creations, for a few years we have been able to find several brands that provide us with the broth that our dishes need in a brick. A tastier and healthier proposal than the traditional pills, which save us work in the kitchen, but which are not as tasty as they should be. because his thing is that homemade broth is just that, homemade, and although it takes more work than opening a container, the broth that we make in our kitchen will always give it a different touch, and more personal, to our dishes. And all we have to do is work for a few hours in our kitchen and put them in the freezer, to always have them at hand.

There is nothing like the color and flavor of a good homemade broth. AKSAY CHAUHAN/UNSPLASH

Despite the diversity that we can find in our trusted supermarket, There are three essential broths in Spanish gastronomy: chicken, meat and fish. In all of them, the vegetable that accompanies the essential ingredient that will add flavor to the broth plays an important role. And to this combination we will only have to add water and patience.

How is chicken broth made?

For the chicken broth, what can we use? to enrich our favorite rice dishes, elaborations with cous cous, some meat dishes and of course, to make delicious homemade soups, we need, in the meat part, a couple of chicken carcasses and a quarter of a hen. As for vegetables, you cannot miss a carrot, an onion, a leek and, if you want to add consistency, a peeled potato.

The ideal place to prepare this preparation is a large saucepan, or even the steamer (without a lid), because it is usually large. Ideally, start by adding a splash of oil to the container and first brown the meat ingredients for a few minutes and then add the vegetables, which we will also let them brown slightly. After about 10-15 minutes we add the water, up to what the pan allows us, and a generous pinch of salt.

Leeks and carrots are essential in a good homemade broth. / Peter Wendt/Unsplash

Until it breaks to boil, with a slotted spoon, we remove the impurities that remain on the surface. And once you’ve reached the boiling point, We put it on medium heat for an hour and a half. Once this time is reached, let the mixture rest for a couple of hours, to get more flavor out of the cooking.

How is beef broth made?

For the meat broth, ideal for our stews or to enjoy a good garlic soup, we will need a piece of shank, at least a quarter of a kilo, a ham bone and a cow bone, either the knee, the shank or both. As for the vegetable ingredients, to the carrots, leek and onion mentioned above we will add a branch of celery, a tomato, a turnip and two cloves of garlic. The procedure to follow is the same as for chicken, but there are those who recommend, for a more satisfactory result, to put all the ingredients on the oven tray, instead of sautéing them previously, and cook them together with a jet of oil for half an hour at 220º (with the oven preheated to this temperature), turning them over halfway through.

Once the time has elapsed, we transfer all the ingredients, and the liquid they may have generated, to the large pot, and add water, some peppercorns and some bay leaves. At the start of cooking we defoam, to remove impurities, and when it comes to a boil, put it on medium heat for an hour and a half. When this time has elapsed, remove the bones and vegetables, draining the latter well.

In the homemade fish broth it is always advisable to include some monkfish bones. / jakub kapusnak/Unsplash

How is fish broth made?

As for the fish broth, although resorting to the thorns that we have left over from any other preparation is valid, We will always obtain a better result if we stop by the fishmonger and, in addition to buying some monkfish bones and, although it is not essential, some prawns or prawns that will always add flavor. To this we add a carrot, a leek, an onion and a sprig of celery, a few sprigs of parsley, some bay leaf, salt and a few peppercorns.

Unlike the previous ones, the ingredients are not fried or baked beforehand (except if you add shrimp, which is always recommended), we simply put them in the pan along with cold water, but without filling the container completely. When it is on the fire and the cooking process begins, defoam and, once reached the boiling point, we frighten the preparation by adding a little more cold water. Recovered the temperature and reached the boil we start the clock and we count between 30 and 40 minutes.

Tricks to make your broths even better

When it comes to straining our broths, we must repeat the operation as many times as necessary until it is free of impurities. This is especially tricky with fish stock, so we will not hesitate to strain it (very calmly) through a strainer covered with kitchen paper or even through the filter of a coffee maker dripping

All broths need to cool completely before we put them in the fridge. And the day after preparing them, both the chicken one and the meat one, we will remove the solidified fat from the surface, that will make it more digestive without subtracting a pinch of flavor.

The freezer is a great place to keep homemade broths on hand. KATE TRIFO / UNSPLASH

All three preparations can be keep three days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer. And this is the main value that will turn your little time in the kitchen preparing the broth into a treasure. Because when you freeze them you will have a foolproof wild card at your fingertips when you need it most. And this forecast will save more than one headache when planning your weekly menusbut it will also be a great ally when it comes to cooking.

It’s normal that when you taste your broths they are blandbecause we have not insisted on adding too much salt, it is even preferable that you do not do it and that you leave this important step for the moment you are creating the dish you added it to. Because a dish with little salt can always be fixed, but a salty one cannot.