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Cheater’s Homemade Broth

Makesabout 4 cups: doubles and triples easily
  • 5 minutesprep time; 30 minutes stove time
April 2008
Let’s face it: I can extol the glories of homemade chicken and vegetable broths until Hades freezes over. In reality, the only people still making their own broth are me and an eighty-year-old woman in Siberia. The can of “low-sodium” broth is winning.

How about meeting me halfway? Take that can, add a few ingredients and give them 30 minutes on the stove, and you will have a broth you can build a reputation on. You can prepare this recipe with either vegetable or chicken broth.

Every flavor-boosting trick we know goes into this recipe. There is garlic, there are aromatic vegetables and herbs, and most important of all, there are wine and tomatoes, two umami superstars. (Umami is a chemical component that heightens flavors and makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.)
  • The broth keeps for 4 days refrigerated and 6 months frozen
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed (leave unpeeled if organic)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 canned tomato
  • 1 bay leaf, broken
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • Three 14-ounce cans low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium to large onion, coarse chopped (if organic, trim away root but leave skin)
  • 1/2 large celery stalk with leaves, coarse chopped
  • 1/2 medium carrot, coarse chopped (leave unpeeled if organic)
  • In a 4-quart pot, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the broth into a bowl or a storage container. Either use it right away, refrigerate it, or freeze it.


Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Bring to a simmer 1 recipe Cheater’s Homemade Broth prepared with chicken broth. Drop in a handful of dried egg noodles, 1/2 cup each fine-cut carrot (or parsnip) and onion, a little fresh parsley, and 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill.
  • Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Stir in 1 to 2 cups of leftover cooked chicken. Heat through and serve.
Farmer’s Tortellini in Wine Broth
  • A glass of red wine, a bowl of tortellini in broth, and a spoonful of Parmigiano—a typical supper in farmhouses across the northern part of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. But the wine is not solely for sipping; it is used to create what old-timers call the farmer’s supper in a bowl. This is how to do it:
  • Bring to a simmer 1 recipe Cheater’s Homemade Broth (either chicken or vegetable broth). Add 2 cups frozen tortellini and boil, covered, until the tortellini are tender. Ladle the soup into bowls. At the table pour 2 to 4 tablespoons red wine into each serving, and sprinkle them with generous spoonfuls of fresh-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Cook to Cook
  • One of the overlooked bonuses of cooking with organic vegetables is that you get to use the whole vegetable, peels and all, without worrying about questionable elements.
  • For instance, an onion’s skin is literally and culinarily pure gold. A good example is this soup, where the organic onion is simply rinsed, the root trimmed away, and the rest put in the pot. That skin turns the broth tawny gold and lends an edge of flavor.