I took a cooking class and was introduced to the best beef broth I’ve ever had in my life—and it's because of this surprising ingredient.

By Brittany Loggins
Updated February 06, 2019
Homemade beef broth
Credit: annick vanderschelden photograph/Getty Images

My mom has always stressed the importance of making homemade broth when cooking, but I don’t think I ever really believed her. I figured it couldn’t make enough of a difference to offset the extra time and effort. Sure, her cooking is great—but for some reason I never attributed it to making homemade broth. Then, last fall on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, I took a cooking class with chef Bob Waggoner that completely changed my mind. We made steak with a sauce that included pine nuts, olives, capers and—you guessed it—beef broth. The thing is, this beef broth was heartier and richer than any I had ever tried.

That’s when I discovered that the secret to this broth was that it contained an entire bottle of red wine.

While Waggoner taught us how to cook an entire dish (and I got gently scolded for “poking” the steak as it cooked in the pan), he had taken the time to start making this delicious red wine broth the day before. Believe me when I say that it was worth it. Also, you better believe that I made sure to get the details.

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In addition to the red wine (it doesn't have to be fancy) Waggoner explained that he starts by roughly chopping 2 large onions, 2 carrots and 2 leeks. Toss those veggies along with 3 pounds of roughly cut chuck meat onto a baking sheet. Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping midway. There’s no need to season with salt and pepper because the flavor will come from the wine.

Once the meat and veggies are cooked, add them to a large stockpot, making sure to scrape the leftovers from the baking sheet. Here’s where it gets good: Add in an entire bottle of dry red wine. From there, add a small can of tomato paste, as well as half-bunches of parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Fill up the rest of the stockpot with water, and let it simmer for 5 hours —making sure to stir incrementally throughout.

For our dish, we seared steaks for about 3 minutes on each side in a pan, then popped them in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. To the pan where the steak had been cooking, we added a ladle full of the strained broth, along with capers, olives and pine nuts. We let that simmer until some of the liquid had cooked down. It was truly delicious.

After straining the broth, make sure you freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. While you’d think this broth would pair best with red meats due to the red wine—think again. The frozen cubes are perfect for adding to a baking dish when cooking chicken, or a pan when searing pork chops. I’m also excited to add it to soups! Believe me, you’ll want to put this broth in everything.