Broth is a liquid food preparation, typically consisting of water, in which bones, meat, fish, cereal grains, or vegetables have been simmered. Broth is used as a basis for other edible liquids such as soup, gravy, or sauce. It can be eaten alone or with garnish. If other ingredients are used, such as rice, pearl barley or oats, it is then generally called soup.
Commercially prepared liquid broths are available, typically for chicken broth, beef broth, and vegetable broth. In North America dehydrated meat stock, in the form of tablets, is called a bouillon cube. Industrially produced bouillon cubes were commercialized by Maggi in 1908 and by Oxo in 1910. Using commercially prepared broths allows cooks to save time in the kitchen.
Broth has been made for many years using the animal bones which, traditionally, are boiled in a cooking pot for long periods to extract the flavor and nutrients. The bones may or may not have meat still on them.
Egg whites may be added during simmering when it is necessary to clarify (i.e., purify, or refine a broth for a cleaner presentation). The egg whites will coagulate, trapping sediment and turbidity into an easily strained mass. Not allowing the original preparation to boil will increase the clarity.
Roasted bones will add a rich flavor to the broth but also a dark color.
In Britain, a broth is defined as a soup in which there are solid pieces of meat or fish, along with some vegetables. A broth is usually made with a stock or plain water as its base, with meat or fish added while being brought to a boil, and vegetables added later. Being a thin and watery soup, broth is frequently made more substantial by adding rice, barley or pulses.
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