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Dec 14, 2008 08:52 AM

Making beef broth: what do you do with the meat?

Hello all! I'd like to start making homemade broth per Marcella Hazan's recipe, which suggests that I cook 5 lbs. of a variety of meats along with some vegetables for 3 hours. She doesn't explain what I might do with 5 lbs. of cooked meat once I finish this process. Any suggestions? Since there is no salt and no browning of the meat in advance, I can't imagine it would be too tasty to eat as is!

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  1. I'm pretty sure it was Cooks Illustrated that was talking about chicken broth and saying that, after all that cooking, the chicken would have "given up" everything it had to give. And I would agree with that. So I took that chicken and supplemented my dog's dinner for quite a while. It was too tasteless for MY taste :) I'd think beef would be the same. But it will have given its taste to a worthy cause.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      Somehow this seems terribly wasteful to me. I have cooked meat for longer periods of time (as in stew, for example), and it was really tasty and had not given "everything it had to give".

    2. Soup meat needs to be recooked in something that gives flavor in order to salvage it.

      When I was a kid, my mother made checken soup, leaving rather tasteless soggy chicken as a byproduct. She then coated the pieces with paprika and garlic and other herbs and spices and baked it in the oven until the excess water cooked out. It then made for ok meat or decent chicken salad.

      As for beef, the equivalent would be to turn it into pulled beef and bake it in spicy barbecue sauce or into chili, where the flavor comes from spices and tomatoes and such, rather then from the beef itself. It won't be world championship food, but it will make for edible sloppy joes or other salvage meals. Hot pepper is the savior of many a marginal meat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: therealdoctorlew

        I think that describes it quite well that most of the flavor comes from additions rather than the meat itself. I use my slow cooker quite a bit and meat and poultry can be overcooked. So the term "falling off the bone" can sometimes be a bad thing. I've started using the meat thermometer on those things also. I don't find it to be a problem with fattier meats like short ribs and lamb shanks because the fat is yummy all by itself :)

      2. Man, I'd hunt for another recipe. Oven-browning of meaty marrow bones and the meat for the stock should be the first step in beef broth. This sounds like the best you'll achieve is pale, weak consomme-type broth.

        1. Brillat-Savarin, writing in "The Physiology of Taste", denounced the French country-folks' habit of eating the meat (le bouilli) after eating the soup (le bouillon), claiming that all the nourishment had transferred from meat to broth, and therefore eating it would be a waste of time. Few of them paid any attention to him, as they instinctively agreed with both Polina809 and Your Correspondent that it's a crime and an abomination to throw out Perfectly Good Food, which is to say anything that tastes remotely good and is non-toxic. I personally like to nibble on whatever's still succulent enough while picking over spent chicken carcasses, and while meat used in serious stock-making would probably be neither interesting nor rewarding to eat, the making of a simple broth can leave the meat tender and tasty. This is after all how one makes yer basic matzoh ball soup, cooking a chicken in water to provide both meat and broth. It's mostly in how you do it: start the meat in cold water if you want strong broth and don't care about the meat; add meat to simmering water if you want good meat and a light broth. And after many years of doing all of these things I can say that you can learn to compromise in whatever direction you want. Just don't expect too much from low-grade meat and supermarket chicken.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            I agree. I just reread the OP and realized that she's talking about broth not stock. I kinda do it the other way around. When I "poach" chicken for the chicken :) I keep the broth which IS quite light. If I didn't have the dog, I probably would do something with the depleted meat when making stock. Not sure what but maybe as other suggested season the dickens out of it, shred and "do something."

            1. re: c oliver

              I made *stock* on Monday, using beef shin bones with lots of meat on them. Now...I had read recently somewhere...that the shin is so gelatinous, anyway, and depleted after stockmaking that it doesn't make for good eating. But...after about five or six hours of simmering, the one cube I tried was tender and relatively tasty from the browning, aromatics, bay and peppercorns, that I decided I would use it after all the next night in a pot pie.

              To make the pie filling, I sauteed the veggies to caramelize them with the used marrow bones in the pan, then removed the veggies and bones, deglazed the pan with Rioja, and added half water, half stock, and a little bit of flour slurry. Once it thickened a little, I put the veggies, my herbs, a touch of Chile oil and Worcestershire, and the shin meat and bones, in for a few more minutes, until the mixture was thick enough to go into the pie (phyllo, not pastry, btw) to bake. The finished product was great. The meat was melt in your mouth tender (obviously) *and* tasty, even after simmering away a good part of the previous day. And the stock I had made from the shin bones is a good batch, too.

              If using shins for stock in the future, I will definitely at least check the meat from now on to see if it's got one good meal left in it, but I would also serve by no later than the following day, for reasons of texture and flavor as much as safety. OTOH, I approach broth more the way you do. I seldom set out to make broth, but keep it when it's the by-product of some other recipe.

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