06 March 2009

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Homemade vegetable stock is super easy, so easy that a goofus like me can relax and enjoy making it without any mishaps. Some people saute the onions and garlic before adding the water and the rest of the vegetables, but it's also quite nice without that extra, not-so-healthy step. Just fill a big pot 3/4 of the way with water, and add all the not-so-nice odds and ends hanging around the kitchen. If you're a vegetarian like me, you probably tend to have plenty of scraps for boiling—just make sure everything is thoroughly washed. Then bring it all to a boil and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Strain out the solids and you're done. If you have onion, celery, and carrot, you can be assured your stock will be great.

Ingredients I like putting in my stock:
  • apple (a touch of sweetness adds balance to flavor)
  • mushroom stems
  • dried mushrooms
  • onion
  • celery
  • carrot
  • potato, peeled
  • fresh herbs like parsley
  • soy sauce
  • alcohol, a touch
  • 1 Cup brown lentils, only for a very rich stock (good substitute for beef broth)
  • garlic, smashed with the flat of a knife
  • ginger, peeled
  • leek greens
  • scallion greens
  • carrot leaves
  • Parmesan cheese rind (I actually haven't done this yet, but it's a traditional Italian thing to do according to Under the Tuscan Sun)
The only things you want to be careful about are acidic vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes, however, many people think those are fine too.

If you run out of soup recipes in which to use your broth, just mix in a few tablespoons of miso paste (it keeps in the refridgerator forever) and voila! you have a pretty fabulous soup that you could serve to company.

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