In my kitchen, chicken stock simmers away every couple of weeks where vegetable stock appears maybe (maybe) every couple of years.
And I know why:
- Chicken stock extracts the last bits of flavor and value from a roasted chicken - leaving feelings of virtue and thrift, like getting something for nothing in the waste-not-want-not fashion
- Vegetable stock takes all those perfectly lovely vegetables bought specially for stock and then leeches out all the vitamins and sucks out all the flavor -- and then you throw them all away!! Talk about guilt! (Hmmm. Maybe a compost pile is in order?)
So here's the first batch. All 22 cups went into freezer bags so taste reports must follow. That said, the sample spoonful was fragrant and a lovely gold color, an apparent keeper.
Now if I can only get over the idea of "wasting" all those glorious vegetables!
RECIPE for LIGHT VEGETABLE STOCK
Then: 2 - 3 hours on the stove unattended once a simmer's been reached
Then: 15 minutes to drain and package
Makes 22 cups
7 quarts water
Peels from 2 potatoes (a great excuse to make Mashed Potatoes & Carrots)
1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 10 large), peels on, cut in 1 - 2 inch pieces
2 turnips, peels on, cut in 1 - 2 inch pieces
4 celery ribs, cut in 1 - 2 inch pieces
2 heads garlic, skins on, halved cross-wise
24 sprigs of cilantro (about a half bunch)
8 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme (see ALANNA's TIPS)
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
Bring the water to a boil in a very large pot or two Dutch ovens over HIGH (or the hottest temperature your stockpot can manage). While the water comes to a boil, add the vegetables as they're prepped. Cover. (See TIPS.) Once the water reaches a boil, reduce the heat to MEDIUM and let simmer for 2 - 3 hours. Pour stock through a colander and transfer into storage containers (see TIPS).
Thyme has great flavor but settled to the bottom and created a cloudy effect in the last of the stock. Next time I'll use a bunch of fresh thyme or use whole seeds that can be strained out.
It's easy to walk away and forget that the stock's on the stove -- until you hear it spilling over. So I set the timer for every 5 or 10 minutes until it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and check it every 5 or 10 minutes until the simmer is stabilized. THEN it can be left completely unattended.
Many recipes call for either four or six cups of stock -- four fills quart bags VERY full (too full to freeze, really) but works fine in gallon bags. I freeze the bags flat in the upstairs freezer, then transfer them to the basement chest freezer vertically so it's easy to pull out bags to see what's inside and oh dear, how long it's been there.
~ Homemade Vegetable Bouillon ~
~ No-Waste Leek Stock ~
~ more vegetable stock recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Homemade Chicken Stock ~
~ Turkey Stock ~
~ more stock recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column