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Homemade broths for a variety of recipes


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1. Introduction

Broth and stock are commonly used in soups and pot roasts recipes. The term broth and stock are usually interchangeable, the real difference lies in how it is prepared. To make broth, meat and vegetables are simmered in water until the meat is fully cooked (less than one hour), while to make stock, bones are washed and simmered in water for long hours (more than 6 hours). Beef, chicken, and vegetables are usually the main ingredients. In some cuisines, there are broths and stocks from fish and pork as well. Within this article, we will briefly talk about how these broths and stocks are prepared, with tips and tricks to make them more flavorful.

2. Broths and stocks

2.1. Vegetable broth

Since there is no bone involved, there is no vegetable stock, just vegetable broth. In general, carrots, radish, daikon (Asian white radish), onions, garlic, vegetables waste such as the peels and bok choy, lettuce and cabbage stems, etc. are the main ingredients for the sweetness and general taste of the broth. Simmer all ingredients in water for about 20 minutes, filter through a fine-mesh strainer or cloth, and then the broth is ready to use.

Certain colored vegetables should be avoided when making the broth. Red cabbage stems, shallots, red onions and it peels, etc. will shift the color of the broth to red, and thus, should not be used (unless it is the desired color).

Depends on targeted recipes that certain spices are added for a desired aroma. A typical example is that in Vietnamese-Chinese dumplings soup, star anise and whole black peppercorns are added to the broth to create its characteristic aroma. Another example is vegan or vegetarian Pho, where cinnamon, star anises, ginger, fennel seeds, whole cloves and cardamom are added to bring out the beautiful aroma of Pho. Dried mushrooms, such as dried shiitake mushrooms, have been found to create an umami taste for vegetable broths, which is comparable to the effect of dried shrimps, dried squids or dried fish. Adding whole, toasted peppercorns, you are adding the heat to your vegetable broth.

Figure 1. Vegetable broth prepared by Titanium 22

Vegetable broth can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in freezer up to 3 months. In general, vegetable broth can be applied in wide ranges of recipes for its neutral taste and simple preparation. There are many delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes prepared with vegetables broth. In some meat recipes, vegetable broth can be an alternative to meat broths and bone stocks if these two are not available by the time of cooking. Below are some recommendations:

2.2. Beef broths and beef stock

To make beef broths, ribs, chuck roast, shanks are used. The meat is simmered in water for less than one hour to prevent it from getting chewy. On the other hand, beef stock is made of marrow bones and oxtail bones and traditionally, they are simmered for long hours. In some beef stocks, the meat is also added to bring a rich taste to the stock (for example, Pho broth). A general procedure to beef broths and stocks starts with washing the meat and bones with water, then simmer in water for a certain period. While it is simmered, scums are generated and floated on the surface, and should be removed to have a clean and clear broth or stock. Nowadays, with a help from pressure cooker, the time for making broth and stock could be reduced significantly, and the meat is as tender as that prepared by traditional method.

Figure 3. Beef stock prepared by Titanium 22

Beef stocks from marrow bones and oxtails contain a lot of fat. To reduce the fat content as well as scums when simmering, bake the bones in the oven at 400 F (200 °C) for 30 minutes or sear the meat separately prior to adding to water. Cleaning the meat with lemon and ginger help reduce the uncomfortable smell of beef. Vegetables are also added for the sweetness. Adding daikon will help absorb the scums and clear the broth or stock. Spices are usually added last and sat in the broth or stock in a short time, not during simmer time, to avoid the bitter taste. Below are certain recipes that require beef broth or beef stock to elevate the flavor:

Figure 4. Vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup – Bun Bo Hue by Titanium 22.

2.3. Chicken broth and chicken stock

To make chicken broth and stock, chicken thighs and bones are widely used. To make chicken broth, the meat is usually simmered in water for about 20 to 30 minutes while for chicken stock, the bones are used. Making chicken stock does not take a long time compared to beef stock. A general procedure also starts with cleaning the bones and meat, then add to cold water and bring to simmering. While it is simmering, scums are generated and float on the surface, and should be removed to have a clean and clear broth or stock. Similar to beef broth, with a help of pressure cooker, it takes less time to make chicken broths and stocks these days. Adding vegetables and spices, especially daikon and whole black peppercorns, helps clear the broth or stock and increase the sweetness, the heat to it. However, not much fat is released from the chicken so there is no need for baking the chicken beforehand.

Figure 5. Chicken broth prepared by Titanium 22

Below are certain recipes that go well with chicken broth and stock:

2.4. Others

2.4.1. Broth and stock from pork

In Asian cuisines, broth and stock from pork are quite popular. Similar to making beef broth and stock, the procedure starts with cleaning the bones and meat prior adding to the water, then simmering for a certain period of time. Remove scums for a clear broth and stock; add vegetables and spices for more flavor. The procedure can also be faster using pressure cooker.

Below are well-known recipes required stock and broth from pork bones for an authentic taste:

2.4.2. Broth and stock from fish.

Fish stock is a base stock in almost all soup recipes in Korean cuisine and some in other cuisines. In general, any type of fish bones can be used to make fish stock, together with other vegetables. With Korean fish stock, dried anchovy and seaweed are usually the main ingredients. The resulting stock has a transparently bright yellow color.  Below are some recipes using fish stock to bring out the flavor:

3. Concluding remarks

Broth and stock are the base of so many soup recipes and can be used interchangeable. The only difference is how they are made. Broth is made from simmering meat in a short time while stock is made from simmering bones in long hours. Aside from the meat and bones as main ingredients for the broth and stock, vegetables and dried mushrooms or dried seafood (such as dried shrimps, dried squids and dried fish) are also added for an improved taste and visual. Depends on certain recipes that other spices are added for elevated aroma.

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