Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Fella's Vegetable Stock

In honor of the fella who I am missing at the moment as he has been kidnapped for the evening into a sleep study, I'm going to share the one thing I will never attempt, it's totally his thing. He has the patience and the practice to make it come out yummy everytime.

I'm talking about stock; chicken, or veggie it doesn't matter, he is the master of making broth. We share cooking duties and neither of us are slouches in the meal department but I'm leaving this and bacon exclusively in his very capable hands. I'm happy with obsessive chopping and measuring being my forte.

He's going to be making a lot of stock during this diet seeing as Madison has not one sugarless broth to be had in any of the various grocery stores. That's okay, his broth tastes better and it means once a week I come home to a roasted chicken. Then later in the week I come home to delicious smelling broth and the dog laying in the kitchen with puddles of drool under her.

Here she is dreaming of a world where tennis balls are chicken stock flavored.

The Fella's Vegetable Stock

Save the stems and inedible bits of all the vegetables you cook with that week and put them on a big bag in the freezer. The green bits of leeks and scallions, wilting spinach and celery, the stems of broccoli and mushrooms, that half an onion that's sitting in the fridge. Chop the vegetable bits to they will fit in the biggest pot you have and toss it all in.

Then find any fresh herbs you have lying around and toss some of those in. If you don't have any fresh use dried rosemary, thyme, and parsley to add some flavor. The only flavors that seem to be musts for a successful broth are onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Everything else is left up to what you like and have around.

Now pour enough water to cover all the vegetables and herbs. This will probably be about a gallon of liquid to start with and as it evaporates and boils off you will have to keep adding more to keep the vegetables moist.

Bring the stock to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. You want to keep heating things through and leaching the flavors out of the vegetables but you don't want to burn or scorch things so keep an eye on it. Now let it simmer for about 6 hours, adding water when needed. It doesn't need close baby sitting as long as you poke at it every so often.

When the broth has a nice brown hue and the vegetables are all limp it's time to start cooling it off. Taste the stock to see if it needs more salt or pepper and add it until you're happy with the flavor. When it is about room temperature you may want to send it through a couple layers of cheese cloth to remove the herbs and such that gather at the bottom of homemade broth. Next portion it out in containers the size you will need for cooking, we do 1 and 2 cup containers so we can thaw small bits as we need them.

To make chicken stock just add a chicken carcass at the beginning and spend a lot of time skimming fat off the top of the cooling broth, that's the only difference. The fella doesn't get all scientific about things, he just does what he knows we'll like but if you want more technical directions check out Alton Brown's episode of Good Eats on the subject and be very very amused. Or use that crock pot you have sitting around to make an even lower maintenance stock.


Quincidence or MissTree said...

Excellent! Thank you for the reminder that I should be making food that is worth it.
Sugar... I have to start watching that.
You blog is really making me think it might be time to actually love food again...

Emily said...

Food is fun and yummy when you eat the good stuff. I just try to think of food restrictions as a puzzle and a game. Once I stopped thinking of what I couldn't eat and started thinking of how I could make something out of what I could eat I started liking food again.