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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vegetable Stock

I think this will be for all those dedicated vegetarians out there. This is a very useful thing to have because sometimes you will cook something that does not take a lot of time therefore you won't have the benefit of the cooking stock to add flavor to your dish. A good example of this is squash. Tomorrow or the next day I am making a zucchini pie. It doesn't take a lot of time to cook it and if I don't add some vegetable stock it won't have much flavor really.
First you keep all the peeling and ends and tops of your vegetables that you use on a daily basis. If you don't do that then you will need to buy whole vegetables and that seems a waste. Keep a plastic bag in the freezer and add the peelings when you have them. Don't use strong vegetables like parsnips, turnips, cabbage and the like. They will only overpower the other flavors and you will end up with turnip juice.
Good vegetables are:
Mushroom stalks
Tomato but not too many or it will color the stock
Parsley stalks
The green of the leek
A little squash but not too much.
No cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, sweet peppers, cabbage etc etc.
Use a big stockpot for this. Heat some olive oil in the stockpot and add a sliced onion or two to it. Cook this for a little while and add the other vegetables and cook them just enough to get the flavors out. Then add a few bay leaves, some thyme, some whole peppercorns and a whole head of garlic or two cut cross ways. Throw it in skin and all. Be sure to keep all your parsley stalks and add them at this point.
Fill the pot with water, bring to the boil and let simmer for an hour or so on the side of the stove. Allow to cool and strain into plastic containers and freeze.
The photographs, from the bottom to the top, should give you a general idea of the way it is done. The top photo is the final product getting ready to be used in some dish after it is strained again.
Making stocks is great fun and very satisfying for any cook and the added bonus is that you use the all your vegetables, nothing is wasted.
You only have to do this occasionally because you should get quite a lot from one stockpot.


Evelyn said...

thanks for that, Jim. I usually use Marigold vegetable stock, and would never have thought of using the cut-offs from veggies. Storing them in the freezer is a great idea, because if you are only cooking a small amount its hardly worthwhile to save them in the fridge. I have a wormery, which gets all my vegetable trimmings, but they won't get the tasty bits from now on. We will all need to be more economical if the financial forecasts prove to be correct.

James Walsh said...

I don't know marigold but I do know that mass produced stocks have nothing on fresh stock. They are usually full of sodium and usually very expensive. I don't think I have ever seen a vegetable stock in any shop. You can use this same method to produce any kind of stock you want. You can make a celery stock by, obviously, using just celery and onions and you can do the same with mushroom stalks and the like. Once you get started it will lead you all sorts of experiments and delights.
After writing that little description last night I made some vegetable stock and it turned out like a broth. A few bits of turnover in the bowl, a little chopped parsley. Really good! Let me know if you make it and how it turns out.