I find it hard to believe that after all this time I have never done a post of broths.
Broths are the basis of most good soups, sauces and gravies. You can make tastier rice and other grains, (like quinoa, barley, etc.), by cooking them in broth instead of water. Broths are extremely healthy and versatile, plus they are a wonderful way to stretch your food dollar. Frankly, I feel better making the most of the sacrifice of the meat that I eat.
I always trim meats and vegetables, put them away little by little, into freezer bags and when I have enough, I make broth. I may mix chicken and turkey, but I keep all others separated.
I am eating less and less pork and beef, but the way to make any meat-based broth is simple and the same:
Use scraps, no matter how fatty, and (hopefully) bones with meat, (at least 2 lbs-worth); bones add extra body, flavor and a good amount of calcium; the fat will come off later.
1 large onion (whole or cut into quarters)
2 large ribs of celery, cut into halves or quarters (preferably with leaves)
1 Tbs salt (to taste)
½ tsp pepper or 4 peppercorns
2 Tbsp. dried parsley (it makes a real difference in taste, and is a ‘superfood’ a powerhouse of nutrients)
(if using a slow-cooker, cook on high with less water; cook for 6-8hours). Add all to a large pot, (3 quart). Fill within 2 inches of the top with cold water. Put on a burner on high until it starts to boil, then turn down to a mild simmer; DO NOT BOIL. Allow 4-6 hours to simmer, (after 3 hours of cooking, you can taste for strength). Thoroughly cool and you can skim off all of the fat that will have risen to the surface. Strain and discard all meat and vegetables, which will be depleted of taste and most nutrients. (The one exception to this is when I make turkey/chicken broth and use giblets; I use extra meat to make the broth strong quickly and then chop the giblets for dressing.)
Now you can use this for the basis of sauce, gravies or any other types of soups, (many recipes are found in previous posts, with more to come.) Some ideas include: adding precooked meats, (meatballs), or sausages and vegetables. The meats can be barbequed, or spiced, (Asian, Mexican, Italian). You can add vegetables alone in any combination; let your imagination and personal tastes inspire you. You can add noodles, pastas, or barley, or go gluten-free with quinoa, rice, oats, buckwheat, corn, cooked beans and legumes and/or beaten eggs.
Today I have made Egg-Drop Soup with Fresh Spinach and Parmesan. I made it with chicken broth, but often make it with vegetable broth:
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1/8 cup minced onion
2 1/2 cups chopped , fresh spinach or 1 cup cooked/canned spinach
1/4 cup chopped Parmesan cheese -or-
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
4 beaten eggs
salt and white pepper to taste
Heat the broth. Add spinach, cook. Add eggs; stir until just cooked. Add cheese; let it melt and serve hot.
Vegetable broth varies much more than my meat-broth recipes depending on the season. I cut the ends from tomatoes, spinach, carrots, green beans, the tops of celery and bok choy, over-ripe onions, garlic, weak leaves and cores of cabbage, and lettuces, the peelings of quashes, the inner core and pith of bell peppers, you name it. (I avoid outer peelings of onions, and don’t use red ones, shallots or red cabbage as it makes the broth dark purple and unappetizing.) I put them in zip-bags in the freezer and when I have enough, I add salt, white pepper and some dried parsley and, as above, bring it to a boil in large pot of cold water and simmer for 5-6 hours. If using a slow-cooker, I add less water and cook on high for 4-5 hours If you need ideas, here are pictures of some of my gatherings, ready to be simmered into nice vegetable stock:
Any of the additions listed in the recipe for meat broth can be used. To go low calcium, low cholesterol, vegan, you can use plant-based meat substitutes to give your soups more protein, make the substitutes tastier and get more for the money out of them, since they are still generally quite expensive.
I hope that you give these recipes a try. You will find that canned broth or those in aseptic containers pale by far in comparison.