Sunday, May 23, 2010

You Aren’t Fully “Stock”ed Until You’ve Made This Vegetable Stock

So this is your first time making homemade vegetable stock. Basically, take your vegetable “garbage”, add spices and water, heat to boiling. Okay, not exactly. But you can put just about anything, perhaps even everything, in this broth; minus, of course, the kitchen sink [you will need that to fill your stock pot with water!]
The great thing about vegetable broth is it invites personal customization, creative liberties and imprecision. Those aging veggies in your fridge or pantry now have a rich, flavorful purpose.
Stock became an option after, as I had previously mentioned, the refrigerator decided to take a vacation in Antarctica. However, rather than send nice postcards it gave us a more personal gift: the same cold, snowcapped wasteland of Antarctica was now covering this week’s produce. We have, literally, “iceburg” lettuce, carrot-cicles, frozen fruits and other frosty foods. The only thing left to do was use them as stock.
My stock is two-fold process. It involves roasting the vegetables with the spices first, then boiling them in water. I can’t remember where I got the idea for that crazy, elongating process, but it makes a difference in the flavor. I recommend it.
The following recipe is what I did this time, but it’s all about what you like or have on hand. Feel free to try anything from carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli to garlic, leeks, onions, spinach, or turnips, etc. etc. You will have to adjust and gauge the amount of water necessary, but I usually put in about a gallon. You don’t necessarily NEED a stock pot, but the bigger the pot the better – the more stock you can get out of it.
Vegetable Stock
1 lb celery
½ lb carrots
1 onion
1 tomato
6 mushrooms
5 cloves garlic
Handful of spinach
3-4 T olive oil
Sage, savory, rosemary, thyme, salt, peppercorns, basil, oregano, parsley, bay leaf
1 gallon water
1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
2. Peel, cut, slice the vegetables.
3. Pour oil over the vegetables, and then add spices.
4. Roast in oven for about 20 min, turning halfway through.
5. In large pot or stock pot, add water and vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat.
6. Boil for about 15 minutes, and then reduce to a simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered.
7. Take pot off heat, drain vegetables. Submerge pot in cold ice water. Allow to cool, but NOT OVERNIGHT [at max 3 hours].
8. Place in bags and freeze or refrigerate.

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