I love ready-made broth. I use soup stock as a starter in most of the dishes I cook, except for desserts. And I really want it to taste like my grandmother’s did—only I don’t have the time to dice and slice and simmer all day. My recipe for homemade soup takes at least three hours.
So, in the US it was easy to find and easy to use ready made broth in a carton, but in Israel, it hasn't quite made it to the masses yet, so here is what I do now.
In a pinch I go the easy route and use soup mix (powder or bouillon cubes). There are all kinds out there so I find the one with most natural ingredients and no MSG at my local store. I follow their instructions on how to simply boil up water, add some of the mix and stir. Then I have broth. Quick and easy. They come in chicken, beef and vegetable flavor. Follow the instructions to prepare the same amount (in cups) as you need for the recipe.
Alternatively, when I have time (or leftovers), I go for homemade chicken broth. You can use fresh or leftover chicken soup with the vegetables and chicken strained out. You’ll have a rich and savory broth.
For a simple beef broth, boil up some beef bones with water, vegetables and seasonings (garlic and onion powders, s&p and anything else you like). For vegetable broth, same deal: boil every vegetable (or even vegetable peel) you can get your hands in a large pot and add seasoning to taste.
When making any flavored broth, be sure to let it simmer for at least a few hours to really develop a deep, complex flavor. Refrigerate the broth overnight (this helps seal the deal – the overnight refrigeration helps to “marry” all the many layers of flavor), and the next day skim any fat that has risen to the top and congealed. Then strain out the vegetables, bones or meat. Reserve them for another use (How about chicken salad or vegetable puree?) Then you will have your delicious homemade broth.
Now I know this sounds so not quick and easy like most of my recipes, BUT if you spend one day making 6-10 quarts of each broth, and the next day freezing them in individual 2-4 cup batches, you can have ready-to-go broth for MONTHS on end.
All you have to remember is to let the broth defrost before you plan on using it. And here’s a quick defrost tip: don’t fill your freezer container to the brim – leave an inch or two between the broth and lid. When you need to quickly defrost your broth, turn the frozen container upside down in your sink and run hot water from the faucet over the base of the container. The extra room you left in the container will allow your frozen block of broth to release from the bottom and sides of the container and slide down. Flip it back over, take off the lid and place your frozen broth in a sauce pan on your stovetop or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave and defrost as usual.
Hope this helps all of you out there with the same question, what to use when a recipe calls for broth.