Last Updated on 3 years by Tim
The first broth that I introduced you to on my blog was chicken broth. It’s a light and delicate broth that goes well with almost anything. Chicken broth is basically the soy sauce of German cuisine. An all-purpose seasoning.
Today, I’m going to introduce you to the second broth that is essential for German cuisine: Beef broth. It has a lot more body and character than chicken broth and makes the perfect soup and stew base.
The Building Blocks of German Cusine Series
This article is part of my basics series, which will introduce you to key ingredients and preparation methods. You can find all these articles in the ‘Basics’ category of this blog. Listed below are the articles that have yet been published in this series:
- Swabian Egg Noodles (‘Schwäbische Eiernudeln’)
- Swabian Soup Noodles (‘Schwäbische Suppennudeln’)
- French Fries (‘Pommes frites’)
- Swabian Pretzels (‘Schwäbische Laugenbrezeln’)
- Kratzete, Eierhaber
- Duchess Potatoes (‘Herzoginnenkartoffeln’)
- Ribbon Noodles (‘Bandnudeln’)
- Muesli (‘Müsli’)
- German Bread Rolls (‘Weizenbrötchen’)
- Potato Puree (‘Kartoffelbrei’)
- German Potato Dumplings Bavaria-style (‘Bayerische Kartoffelknödel’)
- German Potato Dumplings Thuringia-style (‘Thüringer Kartoffelklöse’)
- German Bread Dumplings (‘Semmelknödel’)
- German Potato Pancakes (‘Reibekuchen’)
- Potato Noodles (‘Schupfnudeln’)
- German Boiled Potatoes (‘Kartoffeln’)
- Homemade Beef broth (‘Fleischbrühe’)
- German Pancakes (‘Pfannkuchen’)
- Homemade Semolina Soup Noodles (‘Hartweizen-Suppennudeln’)
- Chicken Broth (‘Hühnerbrühe’)
- Spaetzle (‘Spätzle’)
Why I prefer meat over bones
The process for making beef broth is the same as for making chicken broth. The only difference is the prolonged cooking time. It takes a lot longer to extract all the flavor out of the soup meat and bones.
However, this isn’t an eight-hour bone broth that jellies when it’s being cooled. Four hours of simmering is enough. After that, there’s not much more to gain flavorwise. The meat will have given all its flavor to the soup.
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If you’re a busy person like me and can’t justify spending more than 4 hours cooking broth, a pressure cooker is the ideal kitchen tool to use. With a pressure cooker, your beef broth will be ready in just 35 minutes.
The pressure cooker I use is the WMF Perfect Plus 8.5-quart stainless steel cooker. My mother has been using this one for decades as well. The quality is top-notch, and it really is one of my most frequently used kitchen items. So if you’re like me a lover of homemade stocks, lentils, beans, and all other kinds of legumes, feel free to check this one out:
The ratio of meat to bones for my German beef broth is three parts of meat to one part of bones. In case you’ve also read my blog post about chicken broth, you’re probably familiar with my preference for meat over bones.
Meat gives broths a richer and more nuanced flavor. If you’ve ever eaten a true French consommé you know what I’m talking about.
What to do with all the leftover soup meat
Besides the improved flavor, I also love having all the leftover soup meat. I know a lot of people out there just throw it straight into the trash because they argue that it hasn’t any flavor left in it.
And even though there is a lot of truth in this statement, you still have the fork-tender texture to enjoy. I love serving the beef inside its own broth as part of a beef salad, or as fricassee. Do you remember my recipe for chicken fricassee? The same can be done with the leftover beef.
Ways to achieve a clear beef broth
Everybody values a clear broth. It’s very easy to achieve a crystal clear broth if you follow my recipe instructions.
Always blanch your meat and bones in boiling water first. This will get rid of 80 % of the impurities. You can then start assembling your broth ingredients inside a large stockpot and cover them with cold water.
Bring your broth to a simmer, but never let it boil. It’s for the first 15 minutes of cooking time that you want to skim off any impurities that rise to the top of the stockpot.
Once your broth is ready, you can either strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or you can pass it through a cheesecloth. After that, your broth will be perfectly clear.
Of course, there are also more advanced techniques for clearing a broth including egg whites, extra vegetables, and minced meat. I personally don’t think it’s worth making a ‘consommé double’ at home. This simple ‘consommé’ is more than sufficient for anything that isn’t considered haute cuisine.
Leave some fat inside the beef broth
The amount of fat you remove from the finished broth is up to your personal preference. My beef broth recipe is on the leaner side anyways, so you could even skip the step of defatting the broth.
If you’ve never made broth before, let me tell you it’s super easy to adjust the fat content of your broth. After the broth has been refrigerated for a few hours the fat inside the broth will solidify on top of the broth and can easily be removed using a spoon. It’s best to leave some fat inside the broth as fat is an important flavor carrier. Don’t
My beef broth recipe is not intended as a sauce base. I don’t roast the bones or vegetables. The only thing I do is char the onions cut side down for a little more depth of flavor. It’s best to use this beef broth for clear soups, as a braising liquid, and for salad dressings.
- 3 pounds (1.5 kg) boneless soup meat
- 1 pound (500 g) meaty beef bones
- 2 large white onions, halved
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 10 ounces (300 g) carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 10 ounces (300 g) celeriac, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 leek, white part only, cut into 2-inch pieces
- bouquet garni (1 rosemary sprig, 5 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 5 parsley stems), wrapped inside a leek leaf and tied together with kitchen twine
- 3.2 quarts (3 liters) water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the soup meat and bones in the heavily boiling water for 2-3 minutes to remove excess scum. Drain the meat and bones and set aside.
- Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and without adding any oil place the halved onions cut side down on the pan surface. Let them sit for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly charred. Take the onions out of the pan and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Add the black peppercorns and toast them for 1-2 minutes until they smell fragrant.
- Add all the soup ingredients into a large stockpot and add just enough cold water to cover all the ingredients, about 3.2 quarts. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn the heat to the lowest setting. Strain off any impurities that might rise to the top. Cover your stockpot and let the broth lightly simmer for 4 hours. If you’re using a pressure cooker instead of a traditional stockpot, cook your broth on the high-pressure setting for 35 minutes and let it release its pressure naturally.
- When the broth is ready, discard the bones, vegetables, herbs, and black peppercorns. Take out the meat and let it cool down. Pass the broth through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Let the strained broth cool down completely and discard some of the excess fat that solidifies on top of your broth after chilling it in the fridge. Use the broth within a few days or conserve it by freezing or pressure canning. You can serve the leftover soup meat as part of beef soup, fricassee, or salad.
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