Broths: types and how to make them
Broth is one of the most comforting dishes for fighting the cold. We tell you how to prepare the main types of broth: chicken, fish, vegetable and more.
TRIED AND TESTED14 February 2020
When it gets cold, one of the things we love most are warm and appetising dishes. When it comes to this, there is no better choice than soups and broths. They are the basis of much of our gastronomy and even remind us of the taste of home, because a good dish of soup can really cheer us up with its comforting aroma. They can also serve as a basis for all kinds of preparations and are very economical if we make them at home.
Types of broths
The basis of all good soup is the broth, or base. The broth is obtained mainly by cooking various products in plenty of water, through a process in which the substances are extracted from the food, thereby providing all their flavours and properties. As they say, "Every master has his book," and each of us has his or her favourite broth recipe. But, without going into personal details, let's now find out how these different types of broths are prepared.
How to make vegetable broth
This broth is made only with vegetables and garden produce. The quantity and types usually vary, although the reliable favourites are onions, leeks, carrots and celery, as well as herbs such as parsley, to enhance the taste. These are light broths, ideal for using as the basis of other recipes.
How to make chicken broth
Also known as broth or white base, it is made by cooking bones, shells or leftover poultry meat, along with vegetables, usually fresh. It can also be accompanied by aromatic herbs, such as parsley. It is the ideal complement when preparing creams and purées or to use as a base in stews, rice, sauces and consommés.
How to make meat broth
Also known as a dark base, it is prepared using bones and pieces of meat, usually beef, accompanied by various vegetables as well. The meat can be pre-cooked in a frying pan or roasted in the oven, and can be broken down with red wine, which will give more flavour and enhance the characteristic dark colour.
How to make fish broth
This base, often called fumet, is prepared by adding fish, usually white, to the vegetables. Heads, tails and bones are often used, in addition to seashells. It needs less cooking time than the previous recipe. This a base for seafood creams and sauces, fish soups and paellas.
Other types of broth
Depending on the recipe, more specific broths can be made. For example, ham broth or cooked broth is well known as classic Christmas fare. It can also use more substantial ingredients.
Most importantly, the raw material
A good base, made of vegetables, meat or fish, saves us a lot of hassle, as well as being very nutritious and affordable. Leftovers of vegetables, meat and fish are usually used to make them, which avoids having to dispose of food kept in the fridge, and which could otherwise become unhealthy. Cooked products can also be used, but if we want to achieve a perfect broth, it's best to opt for fresh local products.
The vegetables must be seasonal and as fresh as possible, at their ideal ripeness and cut into pieces of similar size. As regards birds, poultry is the best option, such as free-range chicken, as they usually have more flavour. And as well as getting the best cuts for each broth, it's also a good idea to get a few tips from the experts. For fish, the best approach is to opt for seasonal whites.