Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Veggie Stock

So I’ve tried a ton of veggie stocks but none of them appeal to me. For some reason they all taste like the cardboard box they come in. My only solution was to make my own vegetable stock.  I’ve been making beef, ham, chicken and turkey stock since I was a little girl so I knew how to make a stock. I also found an interesting article in vegetarian times that suggested I keep away from broccoli and other items that can overpower a soup. It’s a great article and I highly suggest reading it. However, when it comes to a stock I believe there are certain must haves: celery carrot and onion, which is also known as a mirepoix in French cooking. Then by adding other veggies and aromatics you can create any type of broth you desire. I wanted to make a large batch and freeze into single servings so that I could use the stock more than once so I kept mine as simple as possible.
6 ribs of celery
2 whole onions skins removed and cut in half
7 small carrots (use your judgment here mine were very small so I could have even added more but sometimes 3-4 will be fine if you have the large ones.
2 leeks just the white part cut in quarters
12 cloves of garlic smashed and peeled
2 large potatoes washed with skins on and cut in half
1 ½ tsp of pepper corns
2 tsp of sea salt
A bunch of fresh parsely
A bunch of fresh oregano
A bunch of fresh savory
20 cups of water
Now keep in mind that while cooking this isn’t going to smell wonderful, unless you like the smell of boiling vegetables. Remember if you add an animal to the mix, ie chicken it may even smell worse, but the end result is fabulous!
For you meat eaters you would add your meat to the stock and just make sure the meat is fully cooked, which will be when the juices run clear.
Now bring this mixture to a boil and after its boiling turn it down to medium for 45 minutes to one hour until the veggies are tender. Try not to simmer until the veggies are mush because straining will become much harder. Once the veggies are tender turn the stove off and strain your soup.
I strain my soup two ways. The first with a large colander to get the large pieces of veggies out and then with a small mesh strainer to get all the bits of onion and potato and full peppercorns out. Then I completely cool the stock before I portion it out and freeze it.  This will last a long time and trust me this is still much much better than any canned or boxed broth you can get.
Now I keep the potatoes and carrots because frankly I love boiled soup potatoes and carrots and have grown up eating them. Plus it pains me to throw away perfectly good vegetables. Heck feed them to your dog if you want. You can even eat the celery and onion if you desire, but I do not. I like to separate the potatoes and carrots from the other items which I discard and allow them to cool a bit. Then I will eat them that night and later for leftovers with just some salt and pepper and sometimes with mustard chow-chow (picked veg in mustard) it’s a PA dutch thing that everyone must try at least once!

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