Tag Archives: no salt

How to Make Homemade Beef Broth

19 May
Homemade Beef Broth

My First Attempt at Homemade Beef Broth.

Subtitled, Or How NOT To…

I can be very compulsive when it comes to trying new things in the kitchen, and sometimes things just don’t work if you don’t even attempt to research just a teensy bit before barging head-on with a new recipe. This was one of those times. My husband wanted to make a beef stir-fry with our leftover tri-tip steak. We also just happened to be out of any chicken or beef broth. I have always made my own chicken broth, but had never tried to make beef stock. However, I had been planning on doing so because I had been stockpiling beef rib bones in the freezer for just such purpose.  It was only about 4:30 and figured I had plenty of time to whip up some beef broth. I mean, it would be just like making chicken broth, right? Throw the bones into a pot of water, add some veggies and spices, and simmer for an hour or two, right?

Bones in Roasting Bag

Bones in Roasting Bag

Well… no. After a couple of hours, I realized I must have done something wrong, as the broth looked suspiciously like vegetable broth. At this point, one of my online friends pointed out to me that I needed to roast the bones in the oven first after I embarrassingly bragged about making my first batch of beef broth. Oops. All was not lost, though, as we went ahead and used the vegetable broth (with a brief hint of beef) for our stir-fry sauce, and it came out fine. I went ahead and froze the rest of the broth for a later use and rescued the bones (once again) so I could try attempt number two the next day.

Round two worked out perfect. I happened to have a turkey roasting bag on hand, so I put the bones and veggies in that. It made it a snap to turn the bones over half-way through the cooking time. Now we have plenty of beef (and vegetable) stock in our freezer for future concoctions!

Homemade Beef Broth

About 4 pounds of beef bones
3 to 4 carrots (or a half bag of baby carrots)
2 celery stalks with leaves
1 onion, quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Seasoning (I used Garlic and Herb)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
10 whole black peppercorns

Roasted Beef Bones

Roasted Beef Bones

Place the bones and veggies in a turkey roasting bag, then arrange in a layer on a large baking sheet. Cook in a 400 degree oven for one hour, flipping the bag after a half hour. Pour the contents of the bag into a dutch oven or large soup pot, then fill the pot with water. You can add more fresh veggies at this time if you want, I did. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for four to six hours, adding hot water as needed. The longer you cook it, the deeper brown your stock will turn. When ready, line a colander with cheese cloth, then strain the broth into another pot or bowl. You now have a healthy, no-salt beef broth!


How to Make a Tasty Low-Salt Chicken or Turkey Broth

9 Jan

Homemade Turkey Broth

As promised, I’ll share my secrets to making a soup base from chicken or turkey, that is both low salt and also deliciously rich and eye-pleasing. Well, there aren’t really that many secrets to it, but a few extra “ingredients” can go a long way in stocking your freezer with plenty of tasty soup stock in the months ahead.

When my husband was told quite a few years ago he had to take high-blood pressure medicine and go on a low-salt diet, I knew it was time to get serious about not using pre-processed canned or packaged items, including any form of chicken bullion. That went right out of the cupboard. Many years before that, though, I did make homemade chicken broth, but on a very irregular basis, and half the time I would forget about those containers in the freezer until they were so ice-crystal laden and freezer burnt that the thought of using them made me cringe.

I have always loved reading cookbooks, almost as a hobby in itself. One year after college, I received — probably from my mother — a boxed set of cookbooks by Jeff Smith, also known as The Frugal Gourmet. I think he came up in the news in years past about some unsavory behavior, but I didn’t follow it that close, and refuse to taint the image of his delightful shows on TV and the wonderful hours of reading his stories accompanying the recipes. But I do remember two great tips from his books.

You know those pesky onions skins that wreak havoc with your garbage disposal? Why throw them out? If you add those onion skins to the pot, they help develop a beautiful yellow base to your broth. That doesn’t look low-salt at all, does it now? Just wash the onion before chopping it, and don’t bother peeling the skin. Throw it into the water! Regarding celery, don’t chop off those leaves on the end either. The celery leaves have just as much flavor (or more) as the stalk. Toss them right in, too. Those two hints really led me to the start of my journey of making some great homemade broth.

My next tip regards garlic. Freshly pressed garlic has a wonderful aroma and taste, but the jars of pre-minced garlic have a place of their own. The juice from the jar is packed with flavor that heightens the otherwise blandness of a low-to-no-sodium broth. When making the broth, in addition to adding the minced garlic (which will get strained off in the end), add some of the juice from the jar. This will add a depthness of flavor to your broth that no salt could replace.

My last tip is Mrs. Dash. There are some wonderful flavors available now of these no-salt herb substitutes, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed with this in your cooking. This brand even has a Southwest Chipotle flavor! We use many of them liberally in our cooking now.

I’ll be completely vague with the amounts, because you can use this recipe whether you are using an entire chicken or turkey carcass, or just poaching a couple of chicken breasts for an enchilada recipe. Just learn to eyeball the amounts you think you will need depending on how much you are making. Half the fun of cooking is experimenting. OK, on to the recipe.

Low-Salt Chicken (or Turkey) Broth

Chicken or Turkey bones, with or without meat on them
Yellow onion, with skins
Carrots (no don’t peel them, just wash them)
Celery, with the leaves
Minced garlic from a jar, plus some of the oil
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Fresh or dried parsley
Salt (if any) and a teaspoon of black peppercorns

In a pot large enough to handle the meat and/or bones, cover with water to at least an inch or more over them. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer three or 4 hours, skimming the top of the pot of any froth and fat that may rise to the surface. When done, drain the broth through a colander or sieve lined with mesh or cheesecloth. Don’t forget to put another pot or receptacle under it during this process. I’ll never forget the time I put the colander in the sink without that, and poured my entire efforts down the drain, lol. You can imagine my shock and dismay when I realized what I had just done. For that reason, I do still keep a couple of cans of low-sodium canned chicken broth in the cupboard.

As a side note, I let the vegetables cool and bag them up in the fridge and add them to my dog’s food as extra yummies the next day or so. Double mileage!

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