I’m gonna be honest with you, the first time I ever made broth from scratch was about two months ago. I was trying to get into making ramen from scratch and spent a bunch of time researching and reading recipes. And trying to find a shortcut. I eventually tried the real thing, because I went to the store and found pork neck bones for sale. I thought it was a fluke, but there have actually been a lot for sale lately. Buying store broth is cheap and easy, but its definitely not as much fun as chucking a bunch of bones in a pot and boiling it within an inch of its life for hours. Ok, ok, ok. My sense of fun is somewhat warped.
This broth is loosely based on the Lady and the Pups broth, which I first made for her Vampire Slayer Express Ramen, both of which I’ve made four times this month. Let me take a second here and say she is one of my favorite food bloggers. I love the beautiful pictures, intricate and exciting recipes (with amazing dim sum), and her slightly irreverent writing style. I have been reading her stuff for years now. Check her out!
But really, making broth is so easy, you barely need a recipe. Before you ask why are you wasting your precious time reading this, then, give me a second. Making broth is easy, fun, and rewarding. I use it for ramen obviously, but also for stew, I make rice for sushi bowls with it, I use it for congee. It adds a lot of flavor. Also, you’ll have a bunch on hand. Feeling sick? You can make chicken soup. Have a last minute dinner guest? Bake some chicken and rice, and use this to add some umph and fanciness to your rice. Reheating a casserole or some leftovers? You’ll have this to make it extra moist.
Just make a huge batch whenever you’re going to be home for a few hours, freeze it, and then whip it out whenever you need it. Other people will say they can taste a difference when you make something with homemade versus store broth. Honestly, I can’t. A little, but not enough to really make a difference. I do feel different, though. I know exactly what’s in it: how much salt, which bones, when it was made. All of that. Plus, there is definitely a certain amount of pride when you’re able to present your family with a hot, steaming bowl of ramen and you’re able to say I made everything. Everything? Everything. The noodles, soft-boiled egg, pork, broth, garlic oil. Everything. Or stew. Or, ya know, whatever.
- 3-5 pounds of bones. You can do pork neck bones, turkey carcass, chicken wings, turkey neck, whatever. I’ve found that my dinky, little grocery store in West Virginia doesn’t reliably have bones for sale. Apparently, even the butcher counter gets everything prepackaged, so they don’t have it either. Therefore, I just buy it when I see it’s cheap and for/on sale, and freeze it until I have enough.
- Note. Make sure that your pot is large enough to cover your bones by at least 2/3 inches.
- Enough water to cover your bones.
- I also like to put in an onion or two, and maybe a head of garlic. I don’t like to flavor it too much, because it keeps my options open later.
- This is optional but helps keep your broth clean and clear. Put all of the bones in cold water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drain, and rinse each bone with cold water. This blanching helps remove any extra blood or gunk that might be there.
- Put all of the bones back in the pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. If you were making a French broth, you would keep the heat low enough that the water has maybe 1/2 bubbles, so that the fat doesn’t get into the broth and make it cloudy. If you’re making a Japanese broth, you want to get that fat to essentially emulsify in the broth, so turn the heat up and let it boil merrily.
- Boil for 6-14 hours. I wouldn’t leave it by itself while boiling, because my dad taught me to never leave burners completely unattended. The good thing is that you can boil it, leave it be while you’re gone or overnight, and then boil it again. It will kill any bacteria that may have developed.
- When you feel that you’ve gotten all of the flavor that you can out of the bones, strain and let cool. Then, you can either freeze in individual portions or use to make something delicious.