Beef broth is a cooking liquid made by simmering beef bones, vegetables, and seasonings.
It’s also known as “stock”. It can be used in place of water to add flavor to dishes like soups or sauces.
It also adds flavor when cooked with rice or pasta.
Beef broth can also be used as a braising liquid for beef and other foods.
In addition to adding flavor, it tenderizes tough cuts of beef by breaking down the collagen in meat during cooking.
Finding a good, low-cost source of beef stock is not always easy.
If you are in the mood to make your own, here’s what you need to know about thickening your broth and making it more flavorful.
Why Consider Thickening Beef Broth?
Beef broth is typically a thin liquid.
When meat and vegetables are cooked in water, the proteins break down and release fluids.
They also retain some of the minerals from the bones, which add flavor to the liquid as they dissolve.
As time goes by, these ingredients can eventually cause fluid loss through evaporation.
If you are adding rice or other starches to your broth to make it thicker, the flavors of your dish may be diluted.
So how do you make it thicker and still keep that rich flavor?
How to Thicken Beef Broth?
Beef broth is thickened by the process of reducing, which is also known as boiling.
Heating can reduce broth to the point where you achieve the desired consistency.
Some recipes call for corn starch or flour to thicken beef stock, but there are other ways to do this without adding extra ingredients.
One method involves removing some of the liquid from your stock and boiling it down.
Another method involves cooking your beef broth more slowly and at a lower temperature.
Below are three methods for thickening your beef broth:
1 – Let it Reduce
The easiest way to thicken broth is by reducing it.
Reducing allows you to remove water from the broth and concentrate its flavor, which makes it thicker.
After removing some of the liquid, boil it until the desired thickness is achieved.
Then add this back into your original beef stock to make it a bit more flavorful and thickened.
As this happens, the proteins in liquids tend to stick together and form solid particles.
These can settle to the bottom of your pot and become a thick sludge.
This is what you want for making gravy.
2 – Use Corn Starch
Corn starch is a tasteless flour made from corn.
It’s very commonly used in cooking as it thins or thickens beverages, sauces, and other foods.
Some recipes call for corn starch to be added when thickening cooking broths.
To thicken beef broth made without using cornstarch, once your broth has been brought to a boil and reduced to the desired consistency, add 2 tablespoons of corn starch for every 1 cup of liquid in your pot.
Stir constantly until it’s well combined with no lumps.
Then reduce your heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
3 – Slow Cooking
If you have the time, consider slow cooking beef broth over low heat for several hours.
This can impart a deeper flavor to your broth as the meat slowly breaks down.
Pieces of cooked beef will begin to settle at the bottom of your pot, making your broth thick and rich.
4 – Use Flour
If you are gluten intolerant, consider using flour to thicken your beef broth instead.
You will need 1 tablespoon of flour for every cup of liquid in your pot.
Add it to a saucepan and whisk it into a slurry with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
Cook over medium heat until thickened, and then add back into your beef broth.
5 – Use Roux
A roux is a mixture that’s made by gradually stirring flour into melted butter.
This mixture binds together and becomes thick when cooked for a while, similar to gravy or gumbo.
To make this, add 1 tablespoon of flour to every 2 tablespoons of fat in your pot.
Stir constantly over medium heat until it looks like wet sand.
Then add this to your beef broth and stir until well combined.
You may need to continue cooking a roux for several minutes after adding it to the pot to achieve the desired thickness.
How to Flavor Beef Broth?
The flavor of beef broth can be further enhanced with the addition of various herbs and spices.
Consider adding parsley, savory, basil, thyme, or other similar ingredients to your broth while it’s cooking.
You may also add salt and pepper when you are ready to serve it at the table.
Another technique is to add vegetables, such as carrots or celery.
The vegetable will cook and impart its flavor into the broth during the process of boiling.
After removing them from your pot, you can use these strained ingredients for other recipes.
You can also add a bit of alcohol to the pot while cooking your beef broth.
This is common in French and other European cuisines, where it’s used as a flavor enhancer and a preservative.
Use white wine, beer, or another similar beverage for this purpose.
In conclusion, beef broth is a perfect base for making soups and sauces.
It can also be used to make delicious gravy and other recipes that you may find in cookbooks or on the internet.
You can use the tips above to create a flavorful, thickened broth right in your own kitchen.
You can also modify these steps as necessary for making different types of broths and soups.