Murphy’s Beef Broth from Voyager
“Wot, not the broth, too?” Murphy said. The cook’s broad red face lowered menacingly. “Which I’ve had folk rise from their deathbeds after a sup of that broth!”
He took the pannikin of broth from Fergus, sniffed at it critically, and thrust it under my nose.
“Here, smell that, missus. Marrow bones, garlic, caraway seed, and a lump o pork fat to flavor, all strained careful through muslin, same as some folks bein’ poorly to their stomachs can’t abide chunks, but chunks you’ll not find there, not a one!”
The broth was in fact a clear golden brown, with an appetizing smell that made my own mouth water, despite the excellent breakfast I had made less than an hour before. Captain Raines had a delicate stomach, and in consequence had taken some pains both in the procurement of a cook and the provisioning of the galley, to the benefit of the officers’ table.
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 41 – We Set Sail)
He or she may not be your favourite. Instead, I’m curious about the character who best reflects your personality and actions in the real world, as you go about your day.
Your “Outlander Mirror,” let’s call him/her.
For me, the answer is, without a doubt, Aloysius O’Shaughnessy Murphy. Murph and I are a couple of chips off the old chef block.
We’re grumpy ( and sometimes downright surly) until you hit the right note with your conversation. It’s not a coincidence there are a lot of reality shows filmed in restaurant kitchens, aye? Every one I’ve ever worked in has been hot, steamy, cramped and hurricane paced — and full of sharp knives — add a TV crew and hot lights, and you don’t need a script for Chef Ramsay to lose his rag. It happens most nights…even when the cameras aren’t there. Trust me.
As for Claire, she had Murphy clocked before he even let her into his galley. Mention cardamom, nutmeg, anise, ginger root, vanilla beans, and the holy grail, saffron — even to a 21st Century chef — and we’re putty in your hands.
Like most cooks/chefs (most of us prefer cook — chef translates as leader — and there is never room for more than 1 chef in any kitchen, no matter it’s size), Murphy takes his food seriously. We are feeders, when you get down to it, and food is more about just filling an empty stomach. A comforting bowl of stock can soothe a sore tummy, energize a body wracked with illness, or warm you down to your toes when you come in out of the rain.
There is a very good chance that Murphy used veal bones to make his stock. Young bones contain a higher percentage of cartilage and other connective tissue than older ones, and the collagen in the connective tissues is converted to gelatin and water during the cooking process. When it’s all finished, the higher the gelatin content of the stock, the richer and more full-bodied the stock. The younger the animal, the better the stock.
That said, I use beef bones to make my stock. For one thing, the way most veal is raised makes it unacceptable to most these days. Free-range veal is an option — less controversial than their formula-fed, white-fleshed cousins whose praises my Chefs continually sang — and although the flesh of the free-range is much darker and (I’m told) has a much more substantial flavour than that of the formula-fed, I doubt very much that there is a significant difference in their bones.
My other reason for using beef bones is that I live on a small island where I can’t get veal bones. Sometimes, circumstances make choices verra, verra easy.
Ask your butcher for leg or shin bones, cut the way mine are above: 2-3″ thick, mostly trimmed of fat, and full of marrow.
Caraway is a unique addition to the bouquet garni, which is what flavour and aroma to a stock, in addition to the bones and mirepoix (onions, carrot and celery).
The seeds add a light, smoky flavour, and are known for their ability to quell an angry, nauseated tummy.
Outlander recipes where you can use your beef stock:
- Bangers & Mash with Crock Pot Onion Gravy from DIA
- Gypsy Stew from Outlander
- Fennel, Mint & Lemon Lamb Sausage with Whisky Cream Sauce
- Venison Stew from DOA
- Shepherd’s Pie from An Echo in the Bone
- Roast Beef for a Wedding Feast from Outlander (gravy)
As with my recipes for Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock, you’ll notice that salt is missing from the list. NEVER SALT A STOCK. When you use your stock in a soup or sauce, or serve it, steaming in mugs for those coming out of the cold, is the time to season it with salt.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
:Beef stock made the old-fashioned way. Full of flavour and body, this crystal clear, protein-rich nectar is the base for soups and sauces that will heal the body and soothe the soul.
- Beef Bones – 3 lbs
- Onion, roughly chopped – 1 medium
- Carrot, roughly chopped – 1 small
- Celery, roughly chopped – 1 medium stalk
- Tomato Paste – 1 Tble (optional — see notes)
- Garlic, halved – 2 cloves
- Caraway Seeds – 2 tsp
- Parsley Stems – 6
- Bay Leaves – 2
- Peppercorns, whole – 6
Place the beef bones in a stockpot and cover with 1” of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the pot has boiled rapidly for 2 minutes, drain and discard the water. Rinse the bones well, return them to the stockpot and cover with 5 quarts of water.
Bring the bones to the boil again then reduce the heat to low. Add the onions, carrots, celery and tomato paste, if using. Tie the bouquet garni together in a square of cheesecloth or enclose in a large tea ball and submerge in the pot.
Simmer gently for 6-8 hours, skimming the surface of the stock occasionally to remove fat and scum. Top up the water as needed.
Remove from the heat and ladle the stock through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter, rather than pouring it from the pot. The stock at the bottom is generally heavy with sediment. I usually give it to the dog.
Strain and cool your stock, then refrigerate, then remove the hardened fat from the surface of the cold stock.
Use as a base for soups, sauces, gravies, etc. To serve as is, heat to boiling, then season with salt and pepper.
Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 8 weeks.
- A true white stock has no colour in it. If you prefer a golden hue for soups or sauces, include the tomato paste for colour.
- Cool the stock quickly in a glass or non-reactive metal container. Plastic containers insulate hot food and delay cooling and increase the chances of food-borne illness.
- Easy French Onion Soup: caramelize 3 or 4 onions in the slow cooker or on the stovetop. When deep golden brown, combine the onions, beef broth, a sprig of thyme and salt & pepper in a saucepan. When just boiling, add a good glug or 2 of sherry and boil gently for 2 minutes. Pour into serving bowls, and if desired, top with a slice of bread and shredded cheese. Broil until melted and serve.