Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vegetable Stock

I know I neglected posting the last couple weeks, which, as my friend pointed out, is unusual given the time of year. There are many reasons but I won't go into those right now. I'll make it up somewhat by posting two this week! Sorry guys!

I kind of cringe at paying quite a bit of money for canned or boxed broths since I use broth so often in cooking. I don't often have a chicken or turkey carcass lying around, even close to the holidays, nor do I have a lot of time to necessarily make my own chicken broth but I DO always have lots of vegetables parts and pieces. Vegetable stock is also much quicker and much more tasty than any vegetable stocks/broths you can buy in the store. You can replace vegetable stock in recipes that use chicken broth fairly easily.

Here's the great thing, the complexity of flavors in a vegetable stock comes from all the different things you simmer in it. So, I just save all my vegetable trimmings for several days (this includes the ends, skins, peels, etc. of any hearty vegetables). This usually includes anything from a root vegetables (like potato, parsnips, turnips, onions and carrots) but also peppers, winter squashes, mushrooms, garlic, celery, tomatoes or anything else I may have used that week. I would only just stay away from any bitter skins (like on cucumbers, eggplant, or radishes).

1 whole large onion
1/2 bunch celery
1/2 bunch big carrots or small bag of mini carrots
1 4 oz. can of tomato paste
1 oz. dried Shiitake mushrooms
3-4 cloves of garlic (crushed, but leave skin on)
other vegetable pieces, parts, skins
1/2 bunch of parsley
fresh sprig of thyme or 1 TBSP dried
4 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1-2 TBSP salt

When you are ready to start, get your dried mushrooms and soak them in very hot water for at least 30 min.
Get out your biggest stockpot. You do need to use a whole large onion, celery bunch and carrots as the base. Chop them roughly-they don't need to look nice, they are just going to be boiled to death to give up all their flavor.
Caramelize them in the bottom of the pot with a little olive oil. Stir them often and be patient since it may take a little longer than you would expect to get them browned. It will take about 15 min.
Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir until it turns a rusty color.
Add everything else and pour water over everything until it is about 3 inches from the top.

Bring to boil, then turn heat down to low medium and simmer for 1.5 hrs.
Scoop out all the large vegetable mush with a big spoon or strainer.
Take clean mason jars and put a strainer on top, lined with paper towel and pour the liquid through into the jar. You may need to replace the paper towel several times when it gets sludged up.

This broth is not shelf-stable like canned goods (it's not acidic enough), so I keep a jar or two in the fridge and then freeze the rest. I usually get about 4-5 quarts out of my big stockpot.

No comments:

Post a Comment