A reassuring thing to know about beef broth:
Store-bought beef broth is pretty good stuff, and that's great to know, because to make your own beef stock, you really have to commit an entire day of your life. Is there a difference between broth and stock? Actually, yes. Broth is made by simmering water with meat and/or vegetables; stock is made by simmering water with bones and vegetables. A really good umami-heavy beef broth starts with bones, browned in the oven along with root vegetables, then simmered for hours and strained and reduced and strained again. The gelatin in the bones gives stock a richer flavor, but in most cases, you can use broth and stock interchangeably. If you're using store-bought, taste before you add salt to the dish.
Cooking or baking?
Unopened cartons of store-bought broth will keep in the pantry until the use-by date marked on the package. Once opened, the broth needs to be refrigerated and will be good for only a few days; for longer storage, pour the leftover into a container with a tight-fitting lid, and freeze for up to six months. Homemade broth always should be refrigerated or frozen.
Seven-spice udon noodle soup
Soup Chick readers got this recipe last week, but I realized that many of you probably would love this quick-and-easy noodle soup. You'll need to find an Asian grocery for a few of the ingredients, but you'll be so glad you did (and if you stocked up on Japanese seven-spice powder when I shared this recipe for chicken yakitori, now's the time to pull it off the spice rack). This really is a ten-minute meal, hearty and healthy. The fresh noodles cook right in the broth, in just three minutes. Dry noodles will take a few minutes longer to cook. Use a rich mushroom broth to make the soup vegan. Serves 2; can be doubled or tripled.
2 cups beef broth (I use Swanson lower-sodium)
1/2 tsp soy sauce (optional; if your broth is very salty, don't add this)
1 7-oz package of fresh udon (or dry, if fresh noodles aren't available)
3-4 snow peas, trimmed and sliced
1 large clove garlic, thinly slivered
2 large mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, or white), stems removed, sliced
2 tsp thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp Japanese seven-spice powder
Add the broth, soy sauce, udon, snow peas, garlic and mushrooms to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring gently from time to time to separate the noodles.
Remove from heat and ladle into individual bowls, topping each with scallions and seven-spice powder. Be sure to stir in the seven-spice powder so the flavor permeates the broth.
Other recipes that use beef broth:
Beef broth fondue, from Wrightfood
Italian beef sandwiches, from Andrea Meyers
Lentil soup with ground beef and brown rice, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Beef stroganoff, from Chaos in the Kitchen
Basic beef stew, from Food Blogga
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