DinnerDork [ ˈdi-nərˈdȯrk ]
Vegetable (and other) stock is a highly underrated ingredient that can give an immediate, low calorie, flavor boost to most meals. Stock can be substituted for water in nearly any recipe, and doing so is often more flavorful – especially in rice, pasta, couscous, soup, stew, and chili dishes to name a few. Follow these easy (and economical) tips to make your own veggie stock:
- Stop throwing money down the drain (disposal, compactor or trash)! Chances are you regularly throw away everything you need to easily make your own veggie stock from scratch. Stop discarding vegetable peels, skins, cores and scraps, and instead save them in the fridge or freezer to use for making stock.
- Lots of vegetable cores, peels, skins and scraps can be used to make stock, including: bell peppers, onions, celery, squash, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsnips, chard, and more!
- If you accumulate a lot of vegetable trimmings, store them in the fridge for stock preparation on the weekend or whenever you’ll have time.
- If you accumulate fewer vegetable trimmings or need to hold them for more than a week to prepare your stock, simply store them in the freezer.
- A good rule of thumb for making your stock is to use 1 lb of vegetable trimmings per 1.5 quarts of water.
- When you’re ready to make your stock do the following:
- Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the seasoning vegetables (onions, garlic, bell peppers, celery, scallions) in a stockpot. Be sure to add the veggies to the pot before warming the oil; you want to sauté the vegetables, not fry them.
- Saute the vegetables over medium-high for a few minutes, until they release their fragrance and become tender. Lower the heat to medium and gradually add the remaining vegetables, stirring as you add them.
- Cover the stockpot and allow the veggies to simmer and steam over medium-low heat for 3 – 5 minutes
- Add 1.5 quarts of water per 1 lb of veggies, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the stockpot.
- Also add 1 bay leaf per 1 – 3 quarts of water, and any mild herbs you have on hand (parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, etc.) Avoid using herbs that can overpower a dish like rosemary, basil or oregano unless you want the stock to have those specific flavors.
- Bring the stock to a boil, then simmer, loosely covered for 1 hour
- When done, strain the stock into a container. Discard the strained herbs and veggies.
- Store your stock in the refrigerator for use within a week, or in the freezer if you’d like to extend the life. Consider storing the cooled stock in an ice cube tray to save space, and have it portioned for use in grain and pasta dishes, or for cooking other veggies.