Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vegetable Broth

I've learned, through the years, that baking is a science, but cooking is an art form. What this means is, you need exact measurements for a lot of things to work in the oven. From breads to brownies, from souffl├ęs to sugar cookies, if you don't use precision with ingredients, temperature and time, you're likely to be disappointed with the results. On the other hand, stovetops are more forgiving of the experimenter... sometimes.

It all starts with the most basic thing of all: water. Then you start tossing things into it. If you need a primer on the concept, I highly recommend you read the folk tale Stone Soup (the version Captain Kangaroo read to us in the good old days). I have it on good authority, though, that there is such a thing as throwing too many things in a pot. A basic vegetable stock is still rather difficult to destroy (IMHO, one guaranteed method is to include Brussels sprouts, rutabagas , or turnips, but that's just one cook's attitude). Oh, also, try to use real, rich carrots, not those baby-type things, as the finger food ones have too little flavor for anything other than absent-minded noshing.


Vegetable Broth

Ingredients:
1 gallon water (approximately)
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
2 cups celery (including leafy greens), chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced no thicker than 1/2 cm. (you can grate them if you prefer)
1/2 cup chopped cabbage
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh from cob (NEVER from a can!)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1-2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp finely-ground white pepper (you can use black pepper if it's what you have on hand)
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch sage

Directions:
In large stock pot, bring water to simmer. Add all other ingredients, bring heat back up until simmering again, cover, continue to simmer for a few hours, until the liquid has reduced noticeably. Remove from heat. Strain out the veggies (you can save these to toss into a meatloaf, later, if you want... or they still make good compost).

Serve with chopped scallions or chives as garnish, or set aside to use in other recipes.

This can be frozen for quite some time.

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