Good broth will resurrect the dead (At least that’s what a traditional South American saying states). There are little things in life as comforting and soothing as a cup of warm brodo (broth or stock) on a cold winter day. After all of the indulgence that comes with holidays, this dish caresses your stomach and gives you the energy and strength to start the year. There’s actually real scientific evidence demonstrating the many benefits of a good, wholesome broth.
It is dead easy to make, although you need some patience and love for slow cooking, even more so if you are using the bones together with your meat and vegetables (humans have been making bone broth for thousands of years) : it takes several hours for the nutrients & minerals found in the bones to come into the broth. But once you have made a batch you can freeze a part of it for future use.
Equally delicious as it comes, broth is a fundamental pillar of any professional kitchen, a perfect base to many recipes. Take risotto for example: if you really want it to taste amazing you cannot avoid using broth during cooking. It will take it to another level. There are also variants of vegetable or fish based stocks, used for different preparations. For example shrimp shells make a delicious seafood one.
There seems to be a big crave for bone broth in the US lately, the traditional Italian brodo preparation will always contain some meat aswell, but bones are encouraged for flavor and nutrients. Here is the recipe for the classic meat one, served in a variety of different ways all across Italy: along with filled pasta such as tortellini or cappelletti, with bread gnocchi in the mountain regions, with passatelli (delicious parmigiano reggiano and egg cilinders!)…as often the case with Italian recipes, each region has their own tradition!
1 pound beef shank (to make brodo we use less noble cuts of the beef, bones can be used as well)
½ hen or capon (chicken can be used as well)
1 stick celery
1 white onion
10 pepper grains
5 cloves (optional)
½ a teaspoon of salt (adjust later)
½ gallon water
Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, then turn flame down to simmer and forget about it for 3 to 4 hours. Take the vegetables and meat out. Let rest and cool. Once cold, skim the fat that has risen and separated to the top. If you are not looking for a clear broth you can blend the veggies and incorporate back into the liquid. What about the meat? Serve it! Bollito (literally, “boiled meat”) is another classic Italian recipe. Either consume it hot right out of the brodo, pairing it with mustard, salsa verde and chutneys, or wait until it has cooled down and chop it into a potato salad with some raw onion, pickles, capers, parsley and greens…delicious!