Unfortunately, there is still plenty of cold winter before us for warm, comforting soup, and preparing broth or stock adds rich, savory flavor to soups, sauces or to drink as nourishment. When made from home, the sodium content can be limted. It is also no-waste-cooking at its best because bones and scraps are used that would have otherwise been thrown out.
Even a simple vegetable broth is versatile and has many uses in the kitchen:
- Use to steam frozen or fresh vegetables instead of water
- Heat in a mug for a warm savory beverage
- Heat with miso, diced firm tofu, a handful of spinach and a teaspoon of chili sauce for a light lunch.
- Warmed with a dollop of pasta sauce for a quick and easy tomato soup.
- Use in place of water in savory recipes to provide a richer, deep taste profile.
Broth and Stock: What’s the difference?
Technically, broth is juice off cooking vegetables and meat (~45 minutes to cook), while stock is bones and vegetables in water cooked down (~4-6 hours) – creating a slightly more viscous, thicker, richer taste and texture. Cooking time for stock is longer and allows collagen in the bones to break down and draws out nutrients which thickens the final product after chilling. Further cooking the bones (8-24 hours or more) creates bone broth pulling even more nutrients from the bones.
No time? Not adventurous enough to make your own? In the grocery store, the terms broth and stock are used interchangeably. Look for low sodium versions of canned or boxed broth or stock. You may need to add water so it does not become over-salty as the dish cooks and liquids evaporate.
If you want to give-it-a-go and try making your own, see below. According to food safety and inspection service (fsis.gov), stock will keep 3 days in the refrigerator. Stock can be made in batches and frozen in varying portions. Freeze it for up to 3 months (I’ve kept mine frozen longer – some sites list frozen storage time of 6 months to 1 year).
- Meat or poultry bones, crab or shrimp shells
- Carrots, roughly chopped
- Garlic, smashed
- Onions, roughly chopped
- Cold water
- Herbs (such as thyme and parsley)
- In the oven at 425°F, roast bones, with carrots, garlic, and onions for 15-20 minutes. I like to use a cast iron – dutch oven for this because it can go straight from the oven to the stove top. Any oven safe roasting pan will do, but you will need to transfer from pan to a stovetop stock pot for the next step.
- Place roasted bones and vegetables on the stove on medium low heat, and pour in cold water to cover. Cook down for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain and refrigerate. Note: For stock, cook on low for 4-6 hours before straining and refrigerating and bone broth simmer on very low for 8 to 24 hours. For vegetable broth, leave off the meat/ bones. Pour cold water over the vegetables and simmer on med/low for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- You may season to taste with salt. I only add a very small amount of salt when cooking broth or stock and rather season to taste the dishes that I make with the stock instead.
Check out this tasty recipe! – I left out the farro, and it was still great (you could also replace the farro with another grain like pearl barley or brown rice): https://rachaelsgoodeats.com/spicy-sesame-cabbage-bone-broth-soup/