Monday, September 20, 2010

Vegetable Stock ~ Easy, Quick and Flavourful

Vegetable stock is one of those ingredients that is easy to buy off the shelf yet so much more delicious – and economical – when cooked from scratch. And you don't have to purchase pounds of fresh veggies to make it.

Using vegetable peelings, stalks, and leaves can be a great way to save money and avoid wasting food. Here are some tips for saving vegetable scraps, which can be used in the basic D.I.Y. Vegetable Stock recipe, below.

• Vegetables to use: Onions, carrots, and celery are the key ingredients in vegetable stock, but many other vegetables can add depth and flavor. Wash and save roots, stalks, leaves, ends, and peelings from vegetables such as leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, and asparagus. Herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano and cilantro are also good additions.

• Vegetables to avoid: Scraps from the following vegetables have flavours that can be too overpowering: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, artichokes. Beets and onion skins should also be avoided, unless you don't mind your stock turning red or brown.

• Spoiled vegetables: Although stock is a great way to use veggies that are wilted or slightly past their prime, be sure not to use produce that is rotten or moldy.

• Storing scraps: You will want to collect about 4 cups of vegetables to make 2 quarts of stock. Save scraps throughout the week, wash and chop them into similar sizes, and keep them in an airtight bag or container in the refrigerator. If you are collecting scraps for longer than a week, store in the freezer

D.I.Y. Vegetable Stock - makes 2 quarts

Always include the aromatics: onions, celery and carrots. Chop everything into no more than 1” pieces to help extract the most flavor from the vegetables. This is different from meat stocks where the vegetables are left in large chunks because they are going to be simmered for much longer. Don't use too much water - 2 parts water to 1-part vegetables is a good ratio.

About 4 cups chopped vegetables - a mix of onions, celery, and carrots
2 large tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
2 quarts water

Simmer uncovered for about an hour. Any more than an hour and the flavor will begin to deteriorate. Strain out the vegetables using a fine mesh strainer and press to squeeze out all the broth. Let cool then pour into bags or containers and freeze or refrigerate. If refrigerated use within a few days.

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Created for Quest by Chris at:
foodelf.wordpress.com

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