Beef Broth Simplified
Beef Broth Simplified
Category: Everything Nice
Published on June 21, 2018
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Making broth for the purposes of cooking was quite a foreign concept in the house I grew up in. We called it 'soup' and it was made by either boiling Kienyeji (Free-range) chicken to tenderise it; or boiling large chunks of meat on-bone during events that called for nyama choma (barbecue)... which mostly took place during family parties, holidays and traditional weddings. Everyone looked forward to having their bodies warmed up in the evening with a hot cup of soup. I remember my father telling me how the fat from a boiled chicken would be used to clear any ear infections during the 50's, though I don't know how effective that was as we've never tried it out ourselves.

I love soups and I make it as often as I can. Vegetables can at times be bland but the flavour of any vegetable based soup can be enhanced by adding just the right amount of beef/chicken/vegetable broth. I use the peelings and seeds in the butternut, an onion, a few garlic cloves and the peelings of a carrot to make a quick vegetable broth which I use in my butternut soup in place of water. But for other soups such as the Potato and Leek Soup or Mushroom Soup, I prefer using beef broth.

Shopping for beef bones in Nairobi isn't hard as you can get them in any butchery, retailing between Shs 30-70 per kg depending on where you get them from. City Market sells them for Kshs. 60/kg but negotiate. Choose thick bones that still have meat and marrow. I'd advise that you buy your bones from a butchery with a lot of clients to ensure that you get fresh bones.

Spices enhance the overall taste of beef broth and I've come to appreciate using whole black-peppercorn and dried Bay leaves. The secret is to use them sparingly as they should not be the main flavour when you add the broth to your soup. I also add a few vegetables such as carrots, garlic and celery to add body to the broth.

After a lot of reading, I've discovered that the best way to get all the flavour from the bones is to roast them or bake them on high until they turn brown, around 40 min. I think roasting on an open grill can also work but I've not tried this method yet. I also add pieces of already cooked meat and vegetable pieces together with the bones as they go into the oven. The 'browning' process is essential! I turn them after every 10-15 minutes to ensure they brown evenly. 

Once everything is in the pot and simmered, a thin sheet of fat/scam will develop on the surface of the broth. Don't stir it back as you'll end up with a cloudy broth instead of a clear broth. Scoop it out gently with a spoon and place it in a small bowl. DON'T POUR IT DOWN THE DRAIN or you'll clog it up. Allow it to cool and you can either store it and use it the way you'd use cooking oil, or you can dispose of it by placing it in the bin.

Beef Broth

It takes me about 12hrs from start to finish and I prefer storing the broth in the freezer using glass jars. The broth can stay frozen up to 6 months or 3 weeks in the fridge. Don't fill the glass jars to the brim or your jars will break like mine. I didn't account for the expansion of the liquids once it froze.

Beef Broth

Here's What You Need:

  1. 1.5 Kg bones
  2. A few pieces, cooked meat
  3. 2 medium carrots, cubed
  4. 2 Celery stalks, cubed
  5. 1 Garlic head sliced in half
  6. 1 Medium onion quartered
  7. 3 Dried Bay leaves
  8. 12 black peppercorns
  9. A very large pot
  10. 2 Ltrs, water (more if necessary)
  11. Storage Jars

Here's How To Do It:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to the highest setting.
  2. Place the bones, pieces of meat, carrots, onions and celery on a baking tray and place it in the preheated oven for about 30-45 min. 
  3. Turn after every 15 min to ensure they evenly brown.
  4. Remove from the oven once the bones have browned.
  5. In a large pot on high heat, add water, black pepper, bay leaves and the things that were in the oven (with their juices, if any) and allow them to get to a gentle boil. Ensure that everything is submerged by the water.
  6. Reduce the heat and leave the broth simmering on low for 10hrs and above. The more it simmers, the more flavour the broth will have.
  7. Occasionally remove the film of scam or oil gently such that the oil does not recombine with the broth. 
  8. Allow the broth to cool before storing it in the glass jars.

Bon Appetit!

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