March 31, 2020
by Chrissy Mclean
During this time of quarantine, we want to help you find new and creative ways to make food. We have asked our chef for instructions to make your very own home made broth with the aim of utilising any ingredients you may have at home so nothing goes to waste! See below for a step by step guide on how to make home made broth.
The concept is very adaptable with hundreds of different variations, as opposed to being a set recipe. You can go for a more Asian inspired broth or you can keep it more simple depending on your taste.
The key here is to build levels of flavour over a long time. There is a great chef called Stephen Harris who owns The Sportsman in Kent. He used to be a punk musician and likens building levels of flavour to creating music. You have your underlying foundations of flavour which is the base, you have your fragrant element which makes is the lead guitar and so on and so forth…..
Take a look at the ingredients that you can get hold of, and those that you have at home and make according to these guidelines.
“Base layer” stage
Begin with more robust vegetables. i.e. any root vegetables, alliums or celery.
- Wash your vegetables, and chop into 1 inch sized pieces.
- Cover with water and bring up to a gentle simmer.
Note: When doing this you do not want to add too many root vegetables, as they have a lot of sugar in them and it will end up too sweet. I would recommend 1 large carrot, 1 onion, 1 stick of celery and a bay leaf would suffice for 2.5 litres of water.
- Simmer this very gently for 30 minutes.
If making a broth with meat bones such as a chicken carcass, begin by covering this with water and gently bringing up to a gentle simmer. At any stage of this DO NOT BOIL!
If chicken bones (1 chicken carcass will do for 2.5 litres of water) gently simmer for 45 minutes, then look to add your more robust vegetables.
If making with Beef bones (1kg of bones is plenty for 2.5 litres of water) then pre roast your bones lightly for 30 minutes at 180c. Then gently simmer in your water for 2 hours before adding any vegetables.
Note – If using meat bones, you need to constantly skim off any fat or scum that forms a the top. If left this will make the broth bitter.
Once you have added your vegetables you should gently simmer for 30 minutes.
Note– if your pan is running dry, add some more water to keep it looking healthy.
Once you have your ‘Base’ layer in place, you can look to add some more aromatic vegetables. These are the type of vegetables that apply at this stage. I wouldn’t advise using all of them, just pick a few that you think will work. For example Garlic, lemongrass, star anise and coriander seeds would be great.
- Garlic (1 clove)
- Lemongrass (1 stick)
- Galangal (Small thumb sized piece)
- Star anise (a quarter of a pod)
- Coriander seeds (10 seeds)
- Fennel seeds (5 seeds)
- Fennel (Half a bulb)
Leave these more aromatic vegetables and spices in the gently simmering broth for 10 minutes until the broth smells fragrant and sweet.
You now have a delicious broth in its own right, but you can build on this with some stunning fragrance and aromatics.
You can now turn the heat off and leave the broth to rest. Here you can add some of the following ingredients…
- Herbs! – Parsley, dill, coriander, chives… (include stalks)
- Chilli (Use with precaution as the heat will disperse very quickly)
- Kaffir Lime leaves (1 torn leaf will do)
- Lemon or lime (a thin slice of either will go very far in this)
- Ginger (Use with precaution, two small slices of peeled ginger will do)
Whichever ingredients you use, leave them to infuse for 4-5 minutes. Keep tasting the broth to check how strong those final flavours are. They can over infuse so you must use your judgement on when it tastes to your liking. I would recommend using all of the above if you can.
Once it is where you want it to be and tasting great, pass through a sieve. Now you are at the final seasoning stage.
Ingredients to use at this stage are:
- Soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Sesame oil
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- Tamari (Gluten free soy sauce)
- Sugar (If needed)
- Mirin (Sweet Japanese wine, instead of sugar)
- Lime juice
My recommendations at this stage would be Japanese flavours like miso, mirin, soy sauce and sesame.
Ways to use your broth
Once you have your fragrant broth you can use it in a number of ways….
Either make a ramen by adding a soft boiled egg (6 minutes and then steeped in soy sauce and sugar) noodles and some aromatic ingredients such as…
- Coriander stalks and leaves
- Spring onions
- Sesame seeds
- Greens – Such as finely sliced cabbage
- Seaweed if you have it
- Edamame beans
Alternatively add in any fresh vegetables you have and lightly cook them in your broth. Finish with some herbs.