What is beef broth?
Unlike beef stock which is made by simmering bones, vegetables and spices, beef broth is made by simmering meat, vegetables and spices. As a result beef broth has a more distinct beefy flavor that comes from the meat. Traditionally, beef broth is used for soups or dishes that required a strong and distinct beefy flavor.
Since using meat to make broth can be quite expensive, beef broth is typically made with meat trimmings or as a byproduct of some other dishes, like simmered beef brisket and other.
At home, the best way to make beef broth with a good amount of beefy flavor is to used beef bones with some meat left of on them. They are easy to find and are usually inexpensive. Saving trimmings after butchering whole loins and other parts is also a good way to make beef broth on the cheap.
Beef broth ingredients
Flavorful cuts such as beef shank, chuck, and neck are excellent choices for making broths.
Aromatic vegetables contribute a lot of flavor to beef broth. Mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots, and celery. It is a basic flavoring used to flavor beef broths. The traditional mirepoix in the past would contain a wider variety of ingredients, including ham or bacon, leeks and other vegetables, and one or more fresh herbs. The modern version is considerably simplified but you should feel free to add more ingredients as desired.
Acids help dissolve connective tissues and so are a great addition when making beef stock. Tomatos and tomato products contribute flavor and some acid to brown stocks, though in small quantities as they may make a stock cloudy. When making white beef stocks tomato products are not included due to their color.
Seasonings and spices
Salt is usually added when making broths. Herbs and spices are used sparingly to not let them dominate a beef broth. Traditionally, herbs and spices would be tied in a cheesecloth bag called a ‘sachet d’épices’ which can be removed easily at any time. A ‘bouquet garni’ is also often used when making broths and stocks, which is an assortment of fresh herbs and other aromatic ingredients tied in a bundle with string. A basic ‘bouquet garni’ consists of pieces of leek and celery, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and parsley stems. Another ingredient commonly used for stock and broth flavoring is burnt onion.
Beef Broth Recipe and Instructions
- 5 lbs beef shank, chuck, oxtail, short ribs, or mixed trimmings, or a combination (see notes)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 gallon water (or beef stock for a heartier beef broth)
- 1/2 lb yellow onions (chopped)
- 4 oz carrots (chopped)
- 4 oz celery (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 oz tomatoes (canned or fresh)
Seasonings (tied in a piece of cheesecloth):
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 4 parsley stems
- 1 whole clove
- Kosher salt to taste
- In a stockpot, heat two tablespoons of oil, add the beef and brown over medium-high heat.
- Add water or beef stock and bring to a simmer. Skim the surface to remove any impurities, froth or scum.
- Continue simmering for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, heat another two tablespoons of oil in a skillet, then add the mirepoix and saute over medium-high heat until nicely browned.
- Add the mirepoix and tomatoes to the stockpot.
- Add a 1/4 cup of water the skillet, deglaze it and add the liquid with brown bits to the stockpot.
- Continue simmering for an another 30 minutes.
- Add the spices and simmer for another 30–45 minutes.
- Strain the broth through several layers of cheesecloth. Save the meat to serve with the broth or for other uses.
- Taste the broth and adjust for salt.
- Refrigerate for up to 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.