Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brodo di Pollo Casalingo - Homemade Chicken Broth

Poultry and meat broths are essential to cooking many Italian dishes such as risotto, sauces, soups, stews and braised dishes. A favorite cold weather dish in this household is simply brodo with rice or pastini. Making an Italian broth consists of simple ingredients and preparation - meat and scraps from chicken, beef, veal or capon, vegetables, covering with water and simmering slowly on low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Skimming off the foamy impurities is key to the wonderful flavor.
In a large stock pot or pot put one 3 to 4 pound whole chicken (key for a rich flavorful brodo), around 3 pounds of bones and wings (you can add beef or beef or veal bones and scarps as well, though I tend to use only poultry when making Brodo di Pollo. Toss in a couple of carrots cut into chunks, a couple of celery stalks cut into chunks, a large onion cut into quarters (feel free to toss in some leeks as well though not traditional), and 2 ripe tomatoes. (If you do not have fresh tomatoes, use 2 whole canned tomatoes.
Cover with cold water by two to three inches, place lid on pot askew and bring to a gentle boil by using medium heat.

Reduce the heat to low and skim the foamy impurities from the top of the surface of water. Use a slotted spoon or a skimmer. Simmer 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the whole chicken and set aside. (This is wonderful used for a simple Italian boiled meat dinner. Serve the meat slices with a simple Italian salsa Verde, Mostarda de Cremona or a spicy mustard. The meat can also be used in other dishes not Italian such as enchilada's, served over rice or potatoes with gravy and salads. The uses are endless.) Continue to simmer for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Do not salt until the last few minutes of cooking.

Strain broth into bowl/s and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day remove the fat from the surface. This gives you basically fat-free broth that is ready to use or freeze.
To Make Brodo di Carne Casalinga - Homemade Beef Broth - Use 4 to 5 pounds of bones and meat scraps from beef and veal. Can also add some chicken meat and scraps. Use the same amounts of vegetables except for tomato, use 1 whole canned otmato or one fresh, and water as in Chicken Broth above and same preparation.

To Make Brodo Vegetale - Vegetable Broth - Use 2 pounds assorted fresh vegetables cut in large pieces, such as leeks, onions, zucchini, peas, asparagus, celery, carrots, spinach and Swiss Chard. Be sure to peel, shell and wash vegetables. Add enough water in a medium pot to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Cook as instructed above bringing to boil, lowering heat to low simmer and skimming foam that comes to the surface. Simmer for about 1 hour. Season with salt; strain, Strain again using a cheesecloth or paper towel lined strainer. Refrigerate for a few days if using soon, or freeze.

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