I’m at home this weekend nursing a mild cold. It’s chilly and rainy in San Francisco this Saturday and a nurturing soup seems in order. Right now, an Italian style Brodo is cooking on the stove and will become the base for a Sunday soup. As the broth finishes on the stove, the aromas remind me of Bologna.
Brodo simply means broth in Italian and is usually made of beef, or beef and chicken together. Making broth is a technique, rather a specific recipe per se. This version is inspired by Marcella Hazan’s book and a recent read of a Emiko Davies’ blog.
The Brodo made here is a combination of beef and chicken with a couple special touches. It is intentionally a light broth meaning the meats were not first roasted, or browned before being added to the stockpot. Light broth is often used for soups with pasta or noodles, which is what I am planning to do with it.
Thanks to Marco Polo there is not much difference between Italian and Chinese cuisine when soup and dumplings are considered. For instance, Tortellini en Brodo and Wun Tun soup are very close cousins. In fact, I think most every culture has some of version of broth based noodle, or rice, soup.
The beef includes both soup (femur) bones and a nice slice of chuck roast. A combination of both bone and meat is needed. Oxtails may be used to achieve the same outcome.
Sometime ago, I read the chicken wings make great broth because of their gelatinous nature. I have been using chicken wings for broth since and have included them in this preparation. Also included is a star anise as a subtle homage to the great flavors in Vietnamese Phở. The recipe makes approximately 3 quarts. The resulting broth is worth the effort.
- ¾ pound beef chuck cut into large pieces
- 1 pound of beef femur bones (Alternatively 2 pounds of oxtails may be substituted for the beef chuck and femur bones)
- ½ dozen chicken wings
- 1 large carrot sliced into large pieces
- 3 stalks of celery sliced into large pieces
- I handful flat leaf parsley sprigs
- 1 yellow, or brown onion cut into quarters
- 1 medium tomato cut into quarters
- 1 piece parmesan cheese rind
- 2 large cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- Fill a large, 6-quart stockpot ½ full with cold water. Add all of the ingredients above and top with cold water to a level above the added ingredients. Bring to a boil then skim off any foam that floats to the top of the pot.
- Cover and turn down to low heat. Cook for 3 to 4 hours.
- Let cool, remove the large pieces of meat and vegetables then strain the remaining broth through a mesh. The both may be strained a second time through cheesecloth to produce a clearer Brodo. (Note: Any large pieces of the beef chuck that are removed at this point can be eaten with a bit of the broth and some pieces of the removed onion as a “cooks treat”.)
- Refrigerate. When cooled any remaining fat will congeal on the surface of the broth where it can be easily be removed with a ladle.
- At this point the Brodo is not salted, so it should be salted to taste as it is used. Freeze any broth that is not used.