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Pellegrini on beef broth

Pellegrini on beef broth

 [Editor’s Note: Many of the pages of The Unprejudiced Palate could have been written yesterday. Pelle’s cavalier way with stock, using the material for four or five modern main dishes to make a simple broth, is indisputable evidence that Palate was published in “the good old days”—in 1948, to be exact.]

For beef broth, place in the master kettle four or five quarts of water, one oxtail, one knucklebone or soupbone, a piece of shinbone with meat attached, and two pounds of beef short ribs. Trim away as much of the fat as you can. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer with the kettle partially covered. It should cook about three hours. . . .

During the simmering, the soup should be skimmed and the liquefied fat removed as often as is necessary. The following seasoning is added about three-quarters of an hour before the cooking is completed: salt, a few peppercorns, a small carrot, a small onion, a stalk of celery with the leaves, three or four large sprigs of parsley, and a large ripe tomato or a cup of tinned tomatoes. Some would add a bay leaf and three or four cloves, while others would leave out the tomato. Let each suit his own taste. . . .

It is important to remember that the herbs and vegetables are added to the broth as seasoning; so they should be used sparingly. The practice of adding a lot of vegetables to the meat, while it may produce a nutritious soup, destroys the characteristic flavor of the broth. . . .

When the broth has cooled, store it in the refrigerator and later lift off the fat that has solidified on top. The exquisite broth that results may be used in various ways.

And how about the precious meat? There is only one sensible answer—eat it as the basis for a boiled dinner on the day the broth is made. Cook separately as many vegetables as you desire and serve them with the meat hot from the kettle. Dill pickles, horseradish or mustard, a bottle of wine, and good bread will bring the dinner to life.