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Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Well this week has flown by.  My little boy has been sick for a few days, so my usual routine has been interrupted.  I absolutely don’t mind the interruption, and like having him home with me all day again, but I just hate it when my little ones are sick.  Since he hasn’t been eating a whole lot (sore throat), I’m so thankful to have frozen broth at the ready for both the ease and the nourishment that it can give to him.  I guess this is as good a time as any to post this recipe, then.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Making broth isn’t a new concept, but it seems as though the foodie/health world has rediscovered it lately.  There’s a good reason for that.  Making broth is simple and it offers so many healthy benefits that store-bought versions simply do not.  They also taste so much better.  Make a homemade broth and then do a taste-test with a store brand.  I have.  The difference is stunning.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

For my beef broth, I start with finding some good, properly-raised beef.  You know I’m a grass-fed beef advocate.  So, I suggest you find some grass-fed beef bones (you’ll want a mix of marrow bones and some with a bit of meat on them) to make the healthiest, most nourishing broth possible.  Soup bones can easily be found at a good co-op or grocery store, your local butcher, or from the farmers market. They’re cheap.  Sometimes they’re even labeled “pet bones”– which is kind of odd.  But trust me, they’ll make a rich broth that you’ll love.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The other ingredients you likely already have at home– carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, and some dried or fresh herbs.  It’s a simple process that involves roasting the bones and vegetables first– to really amp up their flavors– then simmering on the stove for hours with water, herbs, and vinegar.  The vinegar is added to, supposedly, draw out some of the minerals from the bones.  I’ve read conflicting information on this, but I finally decided that since I love the flavor it imparts, I’m going to go with it.  Simmer this broth as long as you can.  The longer you do, the more nutrients it will draw out of the bones.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The flavor will be good after three hours, or so– but shoot for 8 or even 24, if that’s a possibility for you. Also, after simmering for about 2-3 hours, I remove the bone with meat on it, and trim the cooked meat off. I put the bone back into the broth and save the meat to use another time. At this point it hasn’t been overcooked, but it has still added plenty of flavor to the broth already. If you don’t want to bother, just leave it in the broth for the duration of the time. As long as you hit that three-hour mark, the broth will taste amazing! Use it in soups like this Paprikash that is one of our family favorites. Fill your freezer up with both this beef broth and this chicken broth for quick, healthy soups this winter.

Homemade Beef Broth | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Beef Broth

(makes a few quarts)

about 6 pounds of good quality, preferably grass-fed, beef bones (some containing marrow and some containing a bit of meat)

about 3 carrots, halved

2 celery stalks, halved

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic bulb (that’s the entire thing), halved and not peeled

3 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

handful of fresh parsley, rough chopped

2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up). Place the beef bones, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic on the pan with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast for about 40-45 minutes, or until the beef and vegetables have a bit of color. Remove from oven.

Add the beef, vegetables, and any juices (leave the grease behind) to a large kettle.  Top it with the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, fresh parsley, cider vinegar, and enough cold filtered water to cover it all.

Bring everything to a high simmer so that it’s almost boiling, but not quite.  Then reduce the heat with the lid ajar to just a low simmer that is barely bubbling and let it cook away for as many hours as you can.  Three hours for sure, but shoot for more, if you can. If wanting to use the meat from the meaty bone (and you should– it’s great for quick meals and/or snacks), remove from bone after about 2-3 hours, put the bone back in the pot.

After you have finished simmering the broth, remove the large pieces with tongs and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth.  This will give you a nice clear broth. At this point you can put it in jars (or BPA-free plastic quart-sized containers) leaving about an inch of head-space (the liquid will expand as it freezes) or leave it in a large pot and refrigerate until completely cold (this will take hours, so overnight works well) and pour into jars afterwards. This makes removing the top layer of grease a cinch. Once that has been completed, throw a lid on it and freeze.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It! Have a great weekend.

Laurie

 

 

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Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) | Relishing It

When we moved to the Twin Cities from North Dakota in 1999, we were stunned by all of the wonderful restaurants.  More specifically, the ethnic food choices were mind boggling.  We simply did not have access to these types of food where we grew up. One of the very first places we tried was a small Vietnamese restaurant on the Midway in St. Paul.  It had recently been in the paper for having one of the best bowls of pho in town and the photograph that accompanied the article made my mouth water.  I didn’t know what pho was, but I knew I had to try it– and it. was. wonderful.   We still go to that restaurant occasionally during the Winter months, though now it’s more likely that you’ll find me making this dish at home.

Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) | Relishing It

It’s quite simple to make a delicious bowl of pho ga that can come together quickly so long as you have the homemade chicken broth ready.  And again, here you’ll want to use the homemade broth– it’ll make the difference.  I generally pull a couple of jars of broth and some shredded, cooked chicken from the freezer just a little while before we want to sit down for dinner.  Pho is all about a simple, flavorful base– some chicken, some rice noodles, and then load the top with fresh ingredients.  No two bowls of pho are identical, at least not in our house, because we all add our own little additions.  I love fish sauce and sriracha mixed into my broth– my kids, not so much.  I also load mine up with jalapeños, basil, sprouts, and a healthy squeeze of lime.  It’s sublime.

Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) | Relishing It

This soup will warm your body and if it were possible to do– I believe that it may actually warm your soul.  Think of a snowy, cold night tucked in at home.  Light a candle or two and nuzzle in.  Slurp on a bowl of this soup with your family or friends.  It makes the Winter months that much more enjoyable.

Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Pho Ga | Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

(Serves 4)

2 quarts homemade chicken broth (imperative for this recipe)

3- inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

5 whole cloves

2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

2 whole star anise

5 whole allspice berries

1 package (about 14 ounces) thin dried rice noodles

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed

1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced

About 4 cups shredded chicken,  (save from when making broth OR boil or bake chicken breasts/thighs)

1 bunch of fresh basil, regular or Thai, for garnish

fresh bean sprouts, for garnish

2 fresh jalapeños, for garnish

1-2 fresh limes, quartered, for garnish

Serve with the following condiments: fish sauce, sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, red chili paste, and soy sauce

For this recipe, I’m assuming you have homemade chicken broth at the ready.  If you don’t– make some immediately.  If you don’t have time to wait the full 24 hours for it to simmer, that’s fine.  Three hours or so,  will work.  Follow these instructions and add the pho ga broth spices (fresh ginger, cloves, allspice berries, coriander seeds, and star anise) right into the pot.  Note:  You will have much more broth than the recipe calls for, but that’s not entirely a bad thing.  You may want to up the amount of spices, as well. 

Begin by adding two quarts of homemade chicken broth to a large saucepan or kettle.  Place the ginger into the pot along with a spice sachet or cheesecloth tied with string filled with the cloves, allspice berries, coriander seeds, and star anise.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium simmer and let cook for about 45 minutes, so that the flavors can infuse.

Meanwhile, when the broth is nearly finished,  cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions (I generally cook them for less time than suggested)– they don’t take very long to cook, so keep a watchful eye.  You do not want the noodles to become mush.  Fill your individual bowls with the rice noodles,  shredded chicken, some sliced white onion, a bit of cilantro, and sliced scallions.

Remove the ginger and spice sachet from the broth.  Ladle the hot broth into the noodle filled bowls.  Serve with accompaniments– fresh basil, bean sprouts, fresh jalapeño, and lime.  Along with the condiments– fish sauce, sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and red chili paste.  Enjoy!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far.  Take Care!

Laurie

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