NEW YEAR’S BRODO – It’s all broth to me.

Brodo for the New Year-4991

Broth? Are you serious – we’ve been offline for four weeks and you want to serve broth?!  But Jody reminded me that we had introduced people to Roquefort ice cream in our last post  and it was a new year, time for new beginnings, setting off on the healthy foot, etc. Okay, okay, I get it.  Herewith: New Year’s Brodo (brodo, Italian for broth). I sometimes envision visitors to the blog like season-ticket holders to the Circus Maximus, just slavering for the opportunity to thrust out their inverted thumbs. But where I see potential critics Jody sees gentle souls garbed like her in moth-eaten cashmere bathrobes and fuzzy slippers, waiting for a warm mug of beef tea, a good book and a place by the fire. I hope she’s right. There is something comforting about broth with shiitake mushrooms, fresh turmeric and ginger. It’s definitely not a meal (for me), but it is solace.  As for the malcontents hoping for braised rabbit this week, I only have one thing to say: You’re about to learn to make stock, which is not the same as broth, and if you shut up and sit down I’ll tell you why.

In days of yore no one considered themselves a good cook unless they made stock. Vegetables, meat scraps and bones, sometimes roasted, sometimes not, along with various aromatics were thrown into a pot. Stocks were the secrets of soups, of sauces, of risottos… and broth. Cooking French food was considered an impossibility without homemade stock, and many aspiring cooks back in the ’70’s, saw themselves as secretly French. As a young man I made chick, beef and fish stocks (as I assume young Brooklynites are doing today). After I was married I made lobster and goose stocks. For awhile you couldn’t open our freezer without risking entombment beneath an avalanche of amber cubes of lobster stock, precious harvest from the summer, hoarded like bottarga, ready to give lend extra depth to anything involving liquid.

Seasoning separates the broths from the stocks. Stocks are under-seasoned by design, so you can add salt later according cording to how the stock is used. Restaurant cooks know this, but not the general public, or the general public as seen by the manufacturers of commercial stock, who often laden their products with salt. If you salt a stock, and then later reduce it to make a sauce, the sauce will be too salty.  Unseasoned stock tastes a bit on the insipid side. Add a pinch of salt however, and the world changes, and so does the stock… into broth. Broth is the butterfly hidden inside the stock chrysalis – all you need to release it is a bit of salt and pepper. Homemade stock, metamorphosed into broth, is vivid, real in a way that what comes in a can or box can’t match. Lesson: make stock, then season as needed.

Twice in the past week, I’ve seen references in casual restaurants to “broth bowls,” filled with Asian noodles or Italian pasta, diced vegetables and fresh herbs. My sense is that stock is coming back among home cooks and that these brothy bowls reflect its appeal to cooks looking for flavor while reducing reliance on processed food.  Like good bread, good stock requires time (but much less effort), and kids and careers eat up a lot of time.  It doesn’t help that the culisphere is filled with stories of stocks that consume days of effort (i.e. the legendary pork stock used to make ramen broth). Our stock is a matter of hours, not days. The labor is uncomplicated – and brief – separated with longish periods of inactivity that easily adapt to laundry cycles, exercise, or building stupefyingly complicated Lego structures with your children.

Before you slip into your cashmere bathrobe and head for the fireplace with the latest David Mitchell tome and a cup of shiitake broth, a couple of quick provisos. In the photos we don’t use a stock pot. Traditional stockpots are deep and narrow and taking pictures of their contents is like photographing the interior of, well, a well.  You can make stock in any large pot, but stockpots offer a smaller surface area relative to volume, so less liquid evaporates during cooking. If you use a wide pot, you may not end up with the three quarts the recipe posits, but if you’ve simmered it sufficiently low you will end up with a more concentrated elixir, which you can always dilute with water to fill it out. Secondly, this recipe calls for chicken and beef to commingle in the same pot. That’s, er, a bit irregular, especially to people who like hearing their moos coming from one side of the fence and their cluck-clucks from the other. But there’s a purpose in mind. Combining beef with chicken makes a weightier and richer stock than one made with chicken alone, yet without being as assertive as typical beef stock. Okay, provisos over. Everyone back into their cashmere bathrobes.

Brodo for the New Year-4753


  • Servings: Makes about 3 quarts
  • Print


 New Year’s Brodo



  • 3 pounds chicken legs and thighs
  • 2 pounds meaty beef bones, such as shanks or oxtails
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 head fennel
  • 1 medium purple top turnip or parsnip
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half
  • ½ pound mushrooms or mushroom stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig thyme
  • 2 ounces fresh ginger, sliced thin
  • 1 ounce fresh tumeric, sliced thin


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Season the chicken and beef with salt and pepper. Set on a sheet pan with the skin side up of the chicken. Roast until all the shanks are brown and the chicken skin is beginning to get golden, about 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the vegetables, and chop into 2-inch pieces. You don’t need to peel the carrots and onions. Toss in a big boil with oil and spread out on a sheet pan or two in a single layer.  If they are crowded, the vegetables with steam rather than roast. Roast until the vegetables start to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
  4. Put the chicken and shanks into a large pot. Don’t forget to drizzle the juices from the pan over them. Add  enough water to come 2 inches above the contents. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, pull the pot just off center of the burner, so the impurities and fat collect at the edge of the pot. Skim and discard.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables and the aromatics.  Add more water if necessary to just cover the contents.  Simmer 3 hours, continuing to skim off the scum* and fat as they rise to the surface.  Add more water as the liquid level falls below the top of the vegetables and meats.
  6. Strain.
  7. Separate the meats and discard the vegetables. You can shred the chicken and beef and add them back to the broth to make a hearty soup, or use them for something else. I chopped up the beef and added it into a pasta sauce. I turned the chicken into a salad.
  8. Pour the broth through a fine strainer into a large container and allow to cool before putting in the fridge.
  9. Remove the layer of solid fat before using.
  10. To make broth, throw some thinly sliced shiitakes, ginger and turmeric into a pot. Pour over the desired amount of stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer until everything softens. Serve at once, adding a few more slices of raw shiitake and fennel fronds as a garnish, if desired.







The stock used in these photos is from a previous batch, not the one in the background.


Brodo for the New Year-4962

Brodo for the New Year-4950

Jody Notes:

I returned from Paris a few days after Christmas to prepare for New Year’s Eve at Rialto. I left Ken to revel in the City of Lights with our daughter Roxanne, and our friends Amy and Gabo.  Champagne bottles in hand, abroad with the rest of Paris on the Champs Elysées on December 31, I’m sure they had no fun at all.  

I was alone for a week, feeling sorry for myself, and just a little debauched after seven days of Parisian holiday eating and drinking. All I wanted was clear broth. In the supermarket I found fresh turmeric near the turnips, which, paired with ginger, turns out to be the piece de résistance for a restorative broth. They say it’s good for your blood.

My recipe calls for many and a variety of vegetables. It’s why it’s so good.  

I treated the broth like tea and heated up pots of it each morning with shiitake mushrooms sliced paper-thin and some fresh ginger and turmeric.  I am ready for 2015.

*I had to include the phrase, “skim the scum”.   I heard this 30 years ago when I was just starting my career. It made me laugh then and it still does. It’s so vivid.  


47 thoughts

  1. Thank you! This looks perfect for the snow days ahead – just need the cashmere robe! I do have a q –can you leave out the meat/chick and just do the veggies?

    • You have snow days?! And all this time I thought we were enduring so much of it so the rest of the world didn’t have to suffer. Yes, you can transform this into vegetable stock, but if you eliminate the meat you need to increase the umami other ways. Increase the mushrooms and parsnips. Consider adding some sundried tomatoes and dried cêpes, and maybe caramelize the vegetables even more than we show in the photos. Good luck. Ken

    • Thanks, Mimi. Depending on who’s eating, some of the stuff goes back into the broth – or not. You know what’s really good? Putting a piece of cheese toast in the bottom of a deep bowl, pouring over hot broth, then slipping a poached egg into the whole thing – poor man’s aqua cotta!

      By the way, I had a chuckle thinking of you saying “I told you so!” a couple of weeks ago. I brought back a raw-milk Vacherin Mont d’Or from France, which we ate with some friends. Unwilling to throw the remaining third away, I tossed it onto a pizza with shiitake mushrooms a few days late . It was unbelievably good. Ken

  2. I don’t have a cashmere bathrobe or a working fireplace, so I guess I’ll have to settle for your “brodo”. I always have a cache of chicken stock in the freezer, but I like the variety of ingredients here. With all this ridiculous snow and cold weather, very comforting indeed.

  3. Skin the scum indeed. God you are good. This is such a terrific recipe – and I had no idea of the differences between stock and broth and didn’t realize it was salt. Now I know. Thank you. Come back soon. x

    • Sophie, how nice to hear from you! When I first read Jody’s notes I wasn’t sure to what she was referring (I hadn’t edited the recipe yet), but my first thought it was line of dialogue from a Patrick O’Brien novel, a command a superior in a press gang might pass on to a subaltern regarding captives so close to the bottom of the barrel that even the British navy wouldn’t accept them. But it wasn’t that. Ken

    • Hi, BA–I’m afraid the moth holes are a critical part of the scenario. You must have quite a view from your window–or is just whiteout? But who cares what the view’s like as long as you’re on the warm side of the glass, slurping brodo (along with a glass of red wine). Ken

  4. Someday I hope Jody publishes your love letters. Could they be even more comical? I fell off the stock making boat awhile ago though this may get me back on board when I get back to the big world. Thanks as always.

    • “…the big world.” – I love it. Sounds like the title of a Denis Johnson novel. I hope we cross paths we you guys sometime soon. I feel like it’s been forever since we had a glass of wine and laughed together. Ken

  5. What a great post. Great broth. I just came back from Mexico and had an amazing portobello mushroom soup in a broth like this. I couldn’t figure out why it was so darn good. it must have been the broth. You would never realize how much meat and chicken and the variety of veggies that goes into it when you eat it with only some mushrooms. Truly wonderful. When the partner from my firm came to join me she remembered this soup from her last visit down and was obsessing over it too. So funny it seems like a version of it has landed here on your blog. I think most people are somewhere between critics and kind souls. I think you have incredibly high standards for yourself, but really teaching here about anything is much appreciated. Always so lovely to see you here. -A

    • Hi, Amanda–Why did you come back? I would have waited at least another month. :-) What doesn’t go with mushrooms? Ice cream! (Wait, I feel a blog post coming on.) Our only consolation is the thought that next year at this time we’ll be in Tanzania – I’m going to remind myself to repeat at the beginning of every day: You aren’t shovelling today… you aren’t shovelling today… Congrats on self-hosting your own blog. We clearly need to have a conversation… and as usual, your comment is too generous, even if you only did give us an A-. :-) Ken

  6. I’m making my own beef bone broth now as I pass time catching up my favorite blogs. There’s just nothing as nourishing or enriching as making this. I’m planning on turning mine into a sort of Pho/Ramen noodle dish for tonight’s dinner…it’s a great use for all the veggies in the fridge.

  7. Okay so I now have to google Circus Maximus and I do happen to be wearing fuzzy slippers on this umpteenth snow day. There is a slab style pie in my oven that I had meant to make for Super Bowl and there is Jasmine tea in my mug not broth. On the other hand a good broth is the secret to amazing food. You had me at Turmeric, ginger and mushrooms. I cannot wait to make this, but I’m not sure I can stomach broth for breakfast quite yet.

    • Oh, go ahead. Jody did this morning, before heading off the gym. The Circus Maximus was a Roman stadium, much larger than the Colosseum, but not anywhere near as familiar today, probably because, unlike the latter, all that remains of it is a large grassy field and a single tower. The Colosseum held 55,000 spectators; the Circus Maximus, 250,000 and in various iterations (a couple in wood before the final one in stone) entertained Romans for almost 1,000 years with chariot races, gladitorial combat, and various animal-themed entertainments (fighting people, fighting each other, etc.). Ken

  8. Back in the days when people were chary about sharing recipes, my mother would always say: “Oh just give it to them. It won’t turn out near as good as ours does anyway because they won’t use the right ingredients.” Sadly, it’s still true when you give soup (and other) recipes to folks who don’t make their own stock. I’d love to think that this whole brodo fad would make people take that simple, simple step. But it probably won’t. Love the idea of fresh turmeric! And glad you’ve got something to sustain you in case your snow, as it seems it might, never ends. ;)

    • Hey, another 4 – 6 on the way on Thursday – can’t wait! Fresh turmeric is something we discovered awhile back when writing about Blue Zones. Now we pick it up and throw it into everything – sliced for stock/diced for stir-fries. Nice to hear from you. :-) Ken

  9. This looks gorgeous – I’ve always been a broth and soup enthusiast!
    Question: Do you need to add vinegar to the stock pot when simmering the bones? I read somewhere that it helps draw out the nutrients…

    • Thanks for the kind words. We don’t add vinegar. I know that some people do, but efficiently leaching the minerals out of bones has never been our concern. Also, having to cook the stock for a shorter period of time hasn’t really been a concern very ofter either. When it is, I use a pressure cooker. Ken

  10. I’m sure this broth is super tasty. Love me a good broth any day, any time. To intensify the broth, you could try dry aged ginger instead of fresh ginger. That’s how we make a good cure-all back home with whole black pepper & other other spices. Aged ginger adds a whole new dimension.

      • Hi Ken, Aged Ginger or Old ginger is the one that is most commonly used where you can see the fibrous strands. Young ginger is usually used for pickling (in chinese cuisine). Indians use an even more aged/dry ginger called chukka for remedies. It’s usually boiled to make a soup-like remedy for different ailments. Google ‘chukka+indian remedy’. Home is sunny Singapore. I’m not sure if you recall, but you last commented about my chicken curry after I commented on bottarga. :)

      • Of course! Aged ginger is “normal” ginger for us. Young ginger is only very rarely available here, when it it known as “fresh” ginger. Any recipe here that calls for ginger, unless otherwise specified, is using aged ginger. I’ve only seen it a few times, in one particular store and to be honest I doubt if you asked your average shopper what it was, he wouldn’t have a clue. I do remember the chicken curry, but my mind is increasingly like a coarse cheesecloth, with too many associations slipping through. Thanks for the mental nudge. :-) Ken

  11. This looks totally exquisite, with or without the cashmere robe (although I would definitely have the book). Is it okay that I’m looking forward to braised rabbit as well though…?

  12. Love, love, love your pictures!!!! Makes me want to eat everything! Haha :)

    Your fellow eater/picture-taker,
    Roxanne ( )

    • Thank you, Roxanne. Although, I think you’d want to eat Jody’s cooking even if I didn’t photograph it. I checked out your blog – nice photos, and I put the pumpkin and quinoa salad on my list. Ken

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