Homemade Meat Broth Recipe

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Meat broth recipe is a basic recipe, used really often in Italian Cuisine. It’s essential for the realization of many Italian recipes. This homemade broth gives your dishes a unique, genuine and natural flavor.

You can use meat broth in many ways, as well as the vegetable broth. In fact, meat broth is excellent eaten alone, as a consommé with croutons. But you can’t do without it to make risotto recipes, soups, to cook Tortellini in brodo or Passatelli in broth.

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Its realization requires a little patience and a long slow cooking, but the steps to be carried out are few and simple.

In Italy, we usually use a mix of meats for the meat broth. Generally, a piece of beef , a piece of meat with bone and a piece of either chicken or hen. With the boiled meat you can make Meatballs or a Classic Italian Meatloaf.

With a good homemade meat broth, your favorite winter dishes (such as Tortellini, Cappelletti, Passatelli, Risotto) have a unique and genuine flavor!

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See other Italian basic recipes:

Homemade Meat Broth recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 Min
  • Cook Time: 3 H
  • Servings: 6/8


Doses for about 1 1/2 liters (about 6 cups) of meat broth

  • 4 liters (17 cups) of cold water
  • 350 g (12 oz) of meaty beef stock bones with marrow such as knuckle bones
  • 500 g (1,1 lb) of stew beef such as chuck or flank steak
  • 1/2 hen or chicken
  • 1 white onions medium size
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stalks of celery
  • 1 big tomato or 3 little tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 cloves (optional)
  • salt to taste


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Step 1) – To make homemade meat broth recipe, first you have to prepare the vegetables. So peel the carrot and cut it into chunks. Then cut the celery too. Peel the onion and cut it in half.

If you want a more aromatic meat broth, add a bay leaf and two cloves, sticking them in the onion to easily remove. (See the paragraph “For a More Aromatic Meat Broth”).

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Step 2) – Then put all the vegetables in a large pot with high sides.

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Step 3) – Now prepare the meat. Wash the meat with the bones under running water to remove any splinters or impurities. Wash the hen or chicken as well and remove excess pieces of fat.

Now add the meat over the vegetables: the beef, the meat with bone and the hen or chicken. Cover the meat with 4 liters /17 cups of cold water.

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Step 4) – Cook over medium-high heat for the first 10 minutes, then cook for 3 hours over low heat with the lid slightly open. The broth should simmer slowly.

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Step 5) – During this time, the broth may need to be skimmed. That is, remove the dark foam, consisting of fat and impurities, which settles on the surface of the broth.

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Step 6) – About half an hour before the end of cooking, add the parsley sprigs. Parsley, if cooked too much, becomes bitter and loses its scent. After about three hours of cooking, the broth is reduced by half.

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Step 7) – Meat broth is ready. Now you just have to drain it. So, remove meat and vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon. Finally, drain the broth once or twice with a colander.

Add salt to taste only after cooking: the amount of salt depends on your personal taste and how concentrated the broth is.

The meat broth is ready to be used for your preparations or eaten warm as an excellent winter comfort food, maybe with croutons.

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Meat Broth Recipe: Storage

Homemade meat broth can be stored for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, tightly closed in an airtight container.

You can also freeze it closed in jars. This is obviously only possible if you have used fresh and not defrosted meat.

What Ingredients for a More Aromatic Meat Broth?

If you want a more aromatic meat broth you can add a bay leaf and two cloves. A trick to find cloves quickly when you want to remove them, is to stick them in the onion. In this way you will not risk that they end up on your guests’ plate.

Bay leaf is best placed halfway through cooking so that its strong scent does not feel too intense.

Many also flavor the meat broth by adding pink peppercorns.

In some regions of central Italy to give a touch of freshness to particularly fatty broths, they add a little lemon peel.

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How to Make Light Meat Broth Recipe

Meat broth is naturally high in calories and fat. Obviously the richer and more concentrated it is, the tastier it is. But for some it’s a bit heavy for digestion.
There are many ways to make a lighter meat broth.
Let’s start with the choice of meat. For a more delicate, leaner and light meat broth, don’t use the meat with the marrow and remove the skin of the hen or chicken.
Furthermore, if you don’t need to use it immediately after cooking, you can put the broth in the refrigerator for a few hours. When it’s cold, the fat deposited on the surface will have solidified. Then you can remove it with a slotted spoon.

Cold Water or Boiling Water?

Cold Water: For a good meat broth, it’s important to put the meat in cold water. This allow the juices contained inside to slowly go out and disperse in the cooking liquid. The broth will be more concentrated and tasty.

Boiling Water: On the contrary, for a good boiled meat, it’s better to immerse the meat only when the water is boiling. This way the juices remain “trapped” in the meat which will be softer and tastier.

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The Meat Broth: Uses and Variations

In this recipe we have showed you how to make a good meat broth at home. Obviously, according to the use you want to make of it and also according to your tastes, the ingredients and cooking times may vary.

Choice of Meat

First of all, as already highlighted, you can vary the type of meat used according to your needs. For example, for a more or less rich broth or for a more delicate flavor.

So, for a leaner meat broth do not use bones, meat with marrow and remove completely the chicken skin. Of course it will also be less tasty!

It’s also possible to use only one type of meat. For example you can make a chicken broth or a beef broth following the same procedure described.

The mixed meat broth is certainly the tastiest and most used in Italian cuisine.

Choice of Vegetables

Even the vegetables you use can vary according to your tastes. Generally carrot, celery and onion are the basic vegetables.

Onion: Many don’t use onion for its somewhat strong taste.

Garlic: Others add a clove of garlic, courgettes and some chard for a greater supply of vitamins.

Mushrooms: If you need to use the broth to make a risotto with mushroom or a mushroom sauce, you can put 1 or 2 champignon in the broth to flavor it.

Potatoes: The potato, on the other hand, is not recommended because, in addition to clouding the broth, it makes it sour and more quickly perishable.

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Broth or Stock: a Matter of Cooking Times

Another very important variable, depending on the use you want to make of your meat broth, is the cooking time.

Meat Broth: The timing indicated in this recipe is right to obtain a not very restricted meat broth. A broth suitable to be consumed as it is, as soup, consommé or to cook Passatelli or tortellini. The meat broth is essential for making fabulous risottos such as Risotto alla Milanese.

Meat Stock: If, on the other hand, you need a stock to flavor your dishes and sauces, the cooking times will necessarily have to increase until you get the density you want. The stock can even be reduced to a jelly.

For this type of use it is good to buy meat with bones and marrow that make the stock more gelatinous and tasty. In fact, bones release collagen. This substance is a natural thickener, which congeals when the temperature is lowered, making the broth jelly.

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It’s very important to salt your meat broth only at the end of cooking, when it reaches the desired density and also for the use that you will have to make of it.

In fact, the meat broth is already very tasty and the more it cooks the more the flavor intensifies.

If you salt the broth at the beginning or during the cooking, you risk finding a very salty broth and then you must diluting it with water, thus dispersing its flavor and aroma.

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