Monday, January 9, 2012

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is made from ends, peels and scraps. Stock is left unseasoned. Some stock recipes use whole or sliced vegetables and discard the solids. This is wasteful. I prefer to use chopped vegetables as my vegetable base, and fill a saucepan with the scraps, and the scraps make my stock. When the stock liquid is poured off, the solids become compost or are discarded. With this method, my stock mirrors my base.

- onion ends and peels (Red onions make red stock. Yellow onions make golden stock.)
- celery leaves and tops
- carrot peels and tops
- sweet pepper stems, ribs and seeds
- potato peels
- cabbage hearts and outer leaves
- garlic skins
- herb stems (parsley, cilantro, etc.)

To make a flavorful vegetable stock it is necessary to use lots of vegetables--fill your pot! Be careful of chilis and citrus peels (lemon, lime), and use sparingly if at all.

I started cooking with packaged stocks. While I cooked with packaged stocks, I was never satisfied with my soups. To me, packaged stock almost never match my cooking, and taste muddy. For example, Asian soups need different base and spice than European soups. Italian minestrone needs a different stock than Hungarian goulash.
Never add water. Always add stock.

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