In Italian the words fare il brodo mean make broth. And boy do the Italians like their broth. They make it often for things like tortellini in brodo, pastina, soups and many other things.
When I lived in Italy I made my fare share of brodo for The Nonna. She sure did like her pasta in brodo. I always felt strange making such a simple dish for the woman who used to make the most amazing food for our family and restaurant back in the day.
Remember when I told you about Nonna's amazing talent here?
But pasta in brodo was what she wanted, so I made it.
My Dad taught me how to make broth when I first arrived and my Italian wasn't perfect yet.
I'll never forget the first time I went to the macellaio or butcher by our house to buy the stuff to make it. I asked the butcher, he knew me at this point because I had been in a lot with my dad, for a piece of chicken to make broth. "Chicken?" he said, "your Dad always buys gallina or hen". I was super confused because I thought a hen was a chicken but I guess in the world of the butcher it is different, I told him that I'd take whatever my Dad usually gets and I was on my way. The broth turned out great then, the many times after that when I made it in Italy and now I make it here at home.
Sure it's easier to buy some OXO cubes and throw it into your recipe but there is nothing like the taste of homemade broth.
This morning I went to the St Lawrence Market and was inspired by all of the beautiful root vegetables in the north market to make stew. Well stew needs lots of delicious brodo so I decided to make some this afternoon. I had a few beef bones in the freezer from another stew I made a few weeks earlier so all I needed was some chicken or hen, oh who knows. I went to Upper Cut Meats
and almost asked for gallina hoping that the the lovely young man who helped me would know what I was talking about. I asked for asked for chicken to make broth instead and he totally hooked me up with a bag of 3 chicken carcasses for only $1, score. I learned later that he did speak Italian so he totally would have know what I was talking about. We spoke a little Italian, I got nervous, said something dumb, blushed and said ci vediamo dopo, but that's another story for another time!!!. :) Lost of butchers keep bones and such for that very reason so be sure to ask.
I wanted to share the recipe with you with step by step instructions so you can make it too.
I really hope you like it and use it in lots of different ways over our long cold winter.
If it ever actually gets cold!
A large piece of chicken (or hen) with bones
A large piece of beef on a bone
A few large carrots
A few pieces of celery & tops
A large cooking onion
A few cloves of garlic
Put bones into a large pot.
Wash and cut up vegetables into large pieces.
Make sure you use the tops of the celery with the leaves, they have lots of flavour!
These vegetables are going to be discarded after cooking so you don't have to get too picky about sizes etc.
Put the veggies into the pot with the meat.
Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and salt.
Fill the pot with cold water and turn the heat on to high.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then turn it down to low and let it simmer for about 2 hours.
You may need to skim the sludge (there may be a more technical word for it but I don't know what it is) off the top while it is cooking because it will make your broth cloudy and kind of yucky (another technical term!).
After a few hours your broth should look like this!
You will know that it is done when it smells delicious and all of the meat and bones are falling apart.
Let it cool for about 15-20 minutes.
Take the big pieces out and put them in a large colander over a bowl to drain.
Once they have dripped off all of the delicious broth discard the vegetables and bones.
You can pick apart the meat and reserve it to put into whatever you are making later but it will be very dry and flavourless.
Pass all of the liquid through a fine colander or even cheese cloth if you have it.
The fewer particles the clearer your broth will be.
Put your broth in a container for refrigeration or freezing.
The broth will last for about a week in the fridge and about 6 months in the freezer.
That's it! You made broth. You are so good!
A few tips:
-When you take it out of the fridge or freezer to use it there may be a layer of fat on top. You can easily remove it while the broth is still cold by skimming it off with a spoon.
-You can freeze broth in an ice cube tray and then transfer the froze broth cubes into a freezer bag. The broth cubes will add tons of flavour to pasta sauces and other dishes and will melt super quickly.
Let me know how your broth turns out.