Beef or Chicken Stock
Beef or chicken stocks form the basis of most Italian minestre and thick soups, risottos and other dishes. One of the most classic of Italian soups, ‘pastina in brodo’, consists of nothing more than a good stock in which small pastas such as telline or small stuffed shapes are cooked. A sprinkling of Parmesan is the final touch. And the equally famous stracciatella whisks eggs into stock, along with fresh herbs.
Makes about 3 litres (5 1/4 pints) of stock
- 1kg (2 1/4 lb) stewing beef and some bones, or 1 chicken of about 2kg (4 1/2 lb), or half and half according to taste.
- 4 litres (7 pints) water
- 2 carrots, cut in pieces
- 1 onion, halved
- 2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- Salt to taste
- A beef stock should be made from the meat of a mature animal, and a bone with marrow can be added if you want to thicken the broth, for example when making consommes. If the full flavour of the beef is to be savoured in the stock, it is advisable to mince the meat first. Choose a piece of silverside, brisket or topside if you are going to use the meat for a dish on its own, such as boiled beef salad.
- For the chicken stock you should choose a bird which is neither too old nor too young. The cooked chicken can itself be used in other recipes if liked.
- Immerse the meat in slightly salted water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Skim off the froth and add the remaining ingredients. Bring back to the boil and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours if using beef, slightly less for chicken. Strain, remove fat, and chill or freeze.