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Making a Perfect Bone Broth

Bone Broth

Perfecting a solid skill set in the kitchen is no easy task.  Home cooks looking to enhance their reputation at the kitchen counter or even in front of their Memphis will find a good bone broth the perfect recipe for success.

For those of us brought up on The Joy Of Cooking, bone broth is just another way of saying stock. Bone broth or stock is the foundation of good cuisine. The stock is a clear liquid which is the direct result of cooking bones, vegetables, herbs and water over a simmering heat for an extended period. The strained liquid from these stocks offers definition and flavor to a variety of soups and sauces.

While the process of making stock may seem daunting to some, the method is simpler than one might think. And to make things even more appealing, the home cook can enlist the help of their Memphis to do its share of the work.

The Bone Broth Method

To begin the process of making a bone broth decide on the type of stock best suited to your cooking plans.  The most commonly used bone broths in the kitchen are beef, chicken and fish stock.

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Brown Stock

This stock broth is comprised solely of beef bones.  Place beef bones in a shallow roasting pan with roughly chopped carrots, onions and celery.  For a brown stock add tomatoes or toss with some tomato paste for a more pronounced color. Set the kitchen oven or the Memphis at a temperature of 400F. If the beef bones begin to char, adjust the temperature of the cooking appliance to prevent burning.  Roast for 45 minutes to an hour. The desired effect is nicely browned bones.

Place the bones and vegetables into a large stock pot. Deglaze the bottom of your roasting pan by adding water and simmering while you stir to dissolve the browned bits on the bottom. Pour contents of the deglazed pan into the stock pot. Cover the roasted bones and vegetables with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 4-6 hours.  Once your stock is simmering wrap sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley, black peppercorns and a bay leaf in a small piece of cheesecloth.  Tie off the bundle of herbs (bouquet garni) with butcher string. Suspend the bundle into the liquid securing the other end of the string to the pot handle. Skim fat off the stock surface as required and wait for the magic to happen.

White Stock

White stock uses chicken, fish, veal or beef bones.

When using veal or beef bones for a white stock, the bones are blanched (quickly boiled, drained and rinsed before simmering) and not roasted.   Saute your mirepoix of vegetables (carrots, onions and celery) for a few minutes adding your choice of bones and cover with cold water.  Bring contents of the pot to a boil then lower the heat  until the liquid is simmering. Add herb bundles at this time.

For a chicken stock – add chicken bones to the sautéed vegetables followed by the steps previously indicated. Simmer these stocks for approximately  2-3 hours.

Fish Stock

Fish stock employs fish bones and fish heads.  Use finely diced vegetables in this broth rather than the typical rough cut. Wine or lemon is a common ingredient in fish stock. The big difference between fish stock and other bone broths is simmering time. Simmer contents of your fish stock for no more than 20-25 minutes. Cooking fish stock longer will affect the intended flavors.

Note: When making stocks or bone broth always remember to start off with cold water to cover the ingredients in the pot. Certain proteins, specifically albumin dissolve better in cold water. Starting the stock initially with cold water helps break down the albumin and makes for a clearer stock.

When the Deed is Done

When your stock has cooked, strain contents of the pot through cheesecloth or a fine sieve retaining the liquid and discarding the other ingredients. Allow stock liquid to cool and refrigerate immediately. Stocks can also be frozen for future use.