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All About Broth

Contributed by: ARA Content

All About Broth

(ARA) - Cooler weather and warm coats - it's the season when heartier, warmth-building fare arrives on American dinner tables. And heartier fare cries out for the rich flavorful versatility of broth!

Spinach Arancini
Whether you're looking to enhance your regular dinner menus or simply seeking hearty cuisine to carry your family through the winter months, broth can be your best friend in the kitchen.

"Weeknight family meal or a weekend soiree, the secret to an easy, fantastic meal isn't in the sauce, it's in the pantry - and it's broth," says Chef Michael Chiarello, the culinary genius behind Bottega restaurant in the Napa Valley and an Emmy-winning TV chef who appears on Food Network and Bravo.

Chiarello has teamed with Progresso to create a series of videos on how to use broth to enhance your cooking. "I am a big advocate for using broth to ramp up the flavor and depth of your dishes, but it can't be just any broth. It has to have great flavor," says Chiarello. "Progresso is my choice for rich flavor - the kind of flavor that will take any dish from average to amazing."

Here are some of Chef Chiarello's top tips for how you can use broth to turn ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones:

1. Just baste it

Who hasn't watched the turkey slowly dry out while waiting for enough natural juice to collect in the bottom of the pan for a reasonable run at basting? Don't wait for the juices to cook out of the meat, begin basting right away with broth. "It's impossible to over-baste," Chiarello says. "Baste chicken, turkey, pork or beef with broth as it roasts and your main dish will come out juicy and delicious every time."

2. New life for leftovers

Refrigerators can steal moisture from the most succulent meal. Before you reheat last night's pasta or casserole, drizzle a little broth over it to rehydrate and add flavor.

3. When you're out of wine

If a pan sauce calls for wine and your pantry happens to be "dry" that day - or you prefer to cook without it - you can easily replace wine with broth. It's the perfect substitute, imparting rich flavor without the cost of wine.

4. Stuffing that won't stop

Stuffing can be just so-so. Using broth to moisten the bread crumbs pushes your stuffing over the edge when you're making your favorite stuffing recipe.

5. Mashed potatoes to the max

Replace milk and butter with broth to boost the flavor of your mashed potatoes - and reduce the calorie count. Cook potatoes in broth, save the broth when you strain the potatoes and add it back in when mashing until you achieve the perfect consistency.

6. Perfect pasta

Cook pasta risotto in chicken broth for a delectable treat. The broth has all the benefits of water as a cooking medium, plus it adds the great flavor of chicken broth to your pasta.

Broth adds flavor and depth to any recipe so it's a great base for soups. Here are two of Chef Chiarello's favorite recipes that rely on broth:

Very Green Broccoli Soup

Prep time: 50 minutes Start to finish: 50 minutes

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • Gray salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 cups Progresso chicken broth (from two 32-ounce cartons)
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup whipping cream or buttermilk (if using buttermilk, use 1 teaspoon lemon peel)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Gremolata ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Progresso panko crispy bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Cut broccoli florets from stems. Peel tough outer skin from stems; trim off fibrous ends. Cut stems into 1/2-inch pieces.

In four-quart Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Stir in onion and celery; season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together gremolata ingredients; set aside. Stir thyme, broccoli stems and broth into soup. Heat to boiling. Cook uncovered over medium heat about three minutes. Stir in broccoli florets; cook about seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is very tender. Stir in spinach and lemon peel (spinach will wilt).

In blender, cover and puree soup in small batches. (At this point, soup can be covered and refrigerated up to one day or frozen up to one month.) Return soup to Dutch oven; reheat over medium-low heat. Stir in cream; season to taste with additional salt and the pepper.

Ladle soup into warm individual soup bowls. Sprinkle one tablespoon gremolata onto each serving. Pass remaining gremolata at table.

Spinach Arancini

Prep time: Ninety minutes - Start to finish: Three hours

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups Progresso reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-ounce carton), heated
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 24 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Progresso Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In three-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook about one minute, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook and stir five minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in rice and wine; cook five to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Add one cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Add remaining one cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.

Season with pepper. Stir in spinach, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Spread onto cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 90 minutes or until firm. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.) On cookie sheet, shape rice mixture into 12-by-8 inch rectangle. Cut into six rows by four rows to make 24 squares. Place one mozzarella cheese cube in center of each square; shape rice around cheese cubes to make balls.

Place flour and bread crumbs in separate bowls. In another bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Coat each ball with flour, then dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Place coated balls on unlined cookie sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Line platter or shallow pan with paper towels. In four-quart Dutch oven, heat about two inches of vegetable oil to 350 F. Fry eight balls at a time three to four minutes, turning once, until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove balls from Dutch oven to towel-lined platter to drain. Serve hot.

For more great broth recipes, a copy of a new recipe book, tips and videos, visit www.ProgressoBroth.com.

Makes 8 Servings


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