Thursday, March 22, 2012
Easy Vegetable Stock from Old Scraps
This is the most thoughtless and cheapest recipe I've ever made because it's basically from water and frozen vegetable scraps. It started with a gallon freezer bag and a few extra carrots I had leftover from a recipe. Over the next few weeks I added chopped red onions, white onions halves, celery stalks, parsnips, wilted herbs, sprouting garlic, and a Parmesan rind. Basically anything that was no longer "good" to use in my kitchen but by no means rotten. After a few weeks I had a FREE bag of vegetable stock goodness. With olive oil and some water you have an amazing vegetable stock for soups, sauces and more.
Optional Veggies (and other things) to Add to your Freezer Bag:
-white, yellow, green or red onions
-tomatoes or tomato paste
-yellow or butternut squash
-parsley leaves and/or stems
-other fresh or dried herbs
-hard cheese rinds such as parmesan
Basically, when you have any of the above things throw them in a gallon freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. Just keep on adding until we get at least 2/3 bag full of scraps. They can be large chunks or even shredded veggies, like the carrots in the pictures below. Oh, and don't forget those cheese rinds!
In a large pot heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat for a couple minutes or until hot. Add your frozen (or fresh) veggies to the oil. It will take awhile to thaw out some of the veggies. Continue stirring until everything becomes fragrant and even a little browned (but not burnt).
Once you've cooked the veggies a bit to bring out the flavor, fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Add some salt and perppercorns if you haven't already.
Simmer uncovered for at least an hour and a half. Mine simmered for a few hours! Strain out the solids over another large pot. I used a large colander lined with cheesecloth to strain out ALL the solids. You could even line your strainer with a paper towel. Voila! Easy, homemade veggie stock!
Well now that you have all this vegetable stock, what to do with it? You can do a number of things:
1. Make a soup right now and use this as the base
2. Ladle it into large mason jars or tupperware and stick in the fridge or freezer (just leave an inch or so if you freeze it...liquid expands)
3. Make small frozen portions by ladling into ice trays or muffin tins
3. Use it to deglaze pans and make a sauce after roasting a chicken or searing meat
4. Add a boast of flavor to your pasta sauces
5. Boil with grains such as quinoa and farro rather than just plain old water
Just keep that imagination running....