Today I have something incredibly thrilling for you…vegetable broth made from scratch from scraps. It’s the simple things that get me going. Listen, it’s hard (not impossible) to compost in the city in the Winter. Make the most of what you’ve got by cooking from root to stalk.
Every time I chop, dice, or julienne, I resist the urge to toss the tops, bottoms, and peels. Instead I keep them to make vegetable stock, the base of all delicious winter soups. There are two schools of thought on this one : freezer fanatics and fridge aficionados. Freezing will definitely allow you to wait longer to make the broth, but will take some of the flavor out of your water rich vegetables (I am looking at you celery). Storing in the fridge with a damp towel in the bag will keep your vegetables viable for up to a week.
Once you’ve gathered all your bits and pieces, slowly cook them with water, vegetables on the verge of going bad, herbs, spices, salt, miso, mushrooms, seaweed, etc. It’s a slow process so keep tasting and tweaking until you feel like this liquid could be the beginning of a beautiful dish.
- Saved scraps of vegetables from your masterful meals
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Miso is a nice addition
- Any vegetables on the verge of going bad
- Mushrooms are always a good idea
- Nori or dried sea vegetables add a nice mouthfeel
- As you make your dishes throughout the week, cut scraps down into 2 inch or smaller pieces. The smaller the cut of the vegetable the more flavor you’ll be able to extract. Don’t go too small or else you won’t be able to strain it out as easily. Keep these stored in a freezer-safe ziploc bag in the freezer or in the fridge with a moist paper towel.
- Pick a day when you’re going to be around the house for a couple of hours. Survey the fridge for any vegetables about to go bad. Cut them up and add them to bag.
- Heat two tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil, or high quality grapeseed oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or a stock pot. Add the veggies and sauté until fragrant.
- Fill the pot with filtered water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Leave the lid off to let the liquid reduce half way. This could take anywhere between 2-4 hours. The more you let it reduce the more flavorful the stock will be. Check in and stir every so often.
- Drain the stock through a colander and divide into different freezer safe containers. If you’ve reduced the stock enough, you can freeze it in ice cube trays. This dense of a stock can be rehydrated with water. I usually store half the stock in the fridge and half in the freezer.
And there you have it. I just wrote 485 words on broth.