Flexible Vegetable Stock

A good vegetable stock recipe is a must-have for veggie and omnivore kitchens alike.  Fortunately, vegetable stock is extremely flexible, good with produce available all year, lasts up to 3 months when frozen, and is a great way to get use from trimmings, peels and scraps before they hit the compost bin.  As long as you clean your vegetables well (and yet another perk of growing your own/buying organically) you can easily include carrot/turnip peels and other trimmings you may have otherwise deemed useless.

Vegetable stock is very market friendly with its flexibility, but there are a few things that I always like to try and include in mine: celery, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, parsley, 2 bay leaves, and mushroom stems/gills.  The rest is up to whatever you’ve got on hand!  Also, if you’ve got the extra time, roast your veggies before throwing them in the stock pot and then cut the simmer time in half – the roasting adds a nice depth of flavor (and goes really well with 1/2+ cup of dry white wine for a really rich stock).  As written (without roasting), this recipe has no added fats or oils.

Some seasonal tips: in early spring, my stock is made primarily from sugar snap pea shells and asparagus tips.  In early summer, I add in tomato skins and pepper cores.  Come late July, I get a chance to make one of my favorite stock recipes with just basil, thyme, onions, garlic, and lots and lots of corn cobs!  In late fall, veggie stock can easily be based around leeks, broccoli stems, potato peels and squash And, in the wintertime, spinach, turnips, and other root veggies can still provide a nutritious soup base for cold winter nights!

Flexible Vegetable Stock:

Flexible Vegetable Stock (Spring Edition) - Before Cooking

Equipment:

  • Large stock pot, knife, cutting board, colander, peeler (optional), stove

Ingredients:

Must haves:

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 small-med bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 3 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 3-4 carrots with stems, cubed with peels and stems included in the pot
  • 3-4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3 small yellow onions with skins still on, quartered
  • 1 head garlic with skins still on, cut in half crosswise
  • Stems and gills of 2-3 portabello mushrooms (just scrape out the gills with a spoon)

Also included this time around (as shown in photo)

  • Asparagus tips
  • Sugar snap pea pods
  • Tips of a zucchini
  • Swiss chard stems
  • Scallion tips

Directions:

  1. If not roasting first, combine all the ingredients in a stock pot.  Remember when prepping that the smaller you cube your veg, the more surface area will be exposed to the water, and the more flavor you’ll get!
  2. Fill the pot with water.  Bring to a boil over med high heat.  Once the pot is boiling, reduce the heat to med low, and simmer for one hour.
  3. Strain into various sized containers (quart, pint, cup) and cool in the fridge.  Use immediately, refrigerate for 7 days, or freeze and keep up to 3 months.
  4. ENJOY!!
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