Soupe de la Semaine: Homemade Vegetable Stock

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Why buy something you can make? Yes, yes, I know. Sometimes we don’t have the time to cook from scratch. And that’s ok. But sometimes we do. Seize those moments and enjoy feeding yourself and your family some scratch cooked goodness. Stock is super easy to make–really, I don’t think you can go wrong if you follow some simple steps. Have your veggies ready to go, have a super big stock pot, have a fine mesh strainer or a contraption of cheese cloth and strainer (cheesecloth is too messy and complicated for me–trust me, invest in a fine mesh strainer from a cooking store), and have some clean containers ready in which to store your homemade stock.

I’ve been making homemade veggie stock since I started following Eat to Live. I don’t think I’ve bought it at all. I don’t mind making stock and if you are making a simple soup, a really flavorful stock makes all the difference. And if you are trying to eat clean and healthy, why not skip a processed food when you have the chance. Doesn’t this look rich and delicious?

vegie stock

I’ve been following this basic recipe for veggie stock from Simply Recipes:
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_vegetable_stock/

The mushroom step is a little complicated for me. This time I put my own spin on the stock. Here’s my recipe, inspired by the recipe above. I think the red chard stems really helped give it the deep color.

Vegetable Stock
3 large carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 yellow onion (reserve the skins)
1 fennel bulb, chopped (you can skip this but the flavor is nice if you have one)
2 garlic cloves, smashed, skins on
about 1/2 of a 6oz can tomato paste (about 3T)
stems of about one bunch kale and one bunch red chard (optional but great for color!)
1 t dried rosemary
2 t dried thyme
1 t black peppercorns (whole)
4 bay leaves
1/2 C or so chopped parsley, stems are fine too
4 1/2 quarts (18 cups) water

Pull out the food processor and process the onion, carrots, and celery until fairly fine. The original recipe calls for precooking the veggies in oil. I skip that step. That makes the recipe considerably easier and faster. Before you start, make sure your stock pot is BIG. I’m speaking from experience. You don’t want to overfill the pot and have to transfer boiling stock to two pots, trust me.

Place all the ingredients in your stock pot. Throw in the onion skins–they help color the broth. Add a little over 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes. Voilà! You have stock.

Place another large pot or bowl in your sink and pour your stock through your fine mesh strainer. You may wish to line the strainer with a paper towel. The strainer will gunk up with pureed veggies. Push down on the veggies with a large spoon or back of a ladle. Dump the gunk and/or replace your paper towel as needed. You should have just around 4 quarts of stock, depending on how much water boiled off or got stuck in your veggies. Pour into containers to store–in the fridge or freezer. Sit back and admire your stock.

Here’s a frugal tip–save veggie scraps (celery leaves, the tail ends of carrots and onions, kale/chard spines, parsley that is “going” and you don’t have time to use up) in a large ziplock bag in the freezer. These scraps that would otherwise go in the trash make great stock!

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