Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Each week, I save all ends and what-not from unused vegetables to give to the family. They take it to their vineyard and add it to the compost pile, or feed it to their chickens. As I was filling up the compost container today, I noticed a interesting combination of toss-outs -- carrot, onion, celery...... A classic culinary combination lies before me and it hits me, why am I not using these throw outs and making vegetable broth? I buy that awful boxed stock all the time!! Channeling the days where I would NEVER buy boxed stock, I quickly rumage through everything and throw it into a pot filled with water. I added fennel stalk, garlic and parsley stems. Finding a few fresh garlic cloves, a pinch of whole black peppercorns and salt, I turn it up and get a rolling boil. I'm feeling like a genius, my grandmother would be so proud of me!
NOTE: Making any stock is simple. Always start with carrot, onion and celery (known as mirepoix in the culinary world), and water. Add any common vegetable, staying away from any cruciferous vegetable, (cabbage family including broccoli, brussel sprouts, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, etc), as they can leave a bitter after taste. If you are planning on making a particular soup, like butternut squash, for example, make your stock and add some of the butternut squash you plan to use in the soup. This creates a deeper layer of flavoring and though subtle, can really make a difference in the end product.
Always cover the stock as it simmers. The longer you cook, the better the flavor, but 30 minutes will do - up to 2 hours. Be sure to add salt and whole peppercorns.
Store in a container with a tight fitting lid for up to 10 days and cool entirely before storing.
Shrimp stock : mirepoix + water + shells from peeled shrimp
Chicken stock : mirepoix + water + whole chicken, fat trimmed and cavity emptied. Skim fat from time to time.