I don't know what day this is...I mean, I know what day I am writing this, but I don't know what Gluten-Free Living day it is. Sue me. In any event, I need to know why you are still buying store-bought vegetable stock or broth. C'mon, give me some reasons why you are paying at least $3 for 4 cups of "organic" vegetable broth when you could be making it at home with...wait for it....THE SCRAPS OF THE VEGGIES YOU USE ALL THE TIME.
Yes, I just shouted at you. I shouted because every time you peel a carrot, cut the top and bottom off of an onion, chop some celery, cut up zucchini, peel potatoes, or discard a few mushrooms, you are throwing away the means to make a good vegetable stock. Seriously, stuff you are throwing in the trash is something you could be using to cook food. All of your grandmothers (alive or dead) are getting up to slap you across the face. In my case, she would be taking a branch off of the peach tree in her backyard and using it on my nether regions. So, you can understand my passion here.
Luckily, I am here to save you from a generational smack-down. It is so incredibly easy to make veggie stock. Let's get started.
1. First, cook some stuff all week. Save all your veggie scraps in a plastic bag in the fridge. Do me a favor. Don't save stuff with a high water content like cucumbers. Think yams, potatoes, celery tops, onions, carrot tops and peels, mushrooms, etc. (though I never use mushrooms because I would die, but that is beside the point.)
2. When the bag is full, gather your supplies. Scraps, cooking pot, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaf, salt...really whatever seasonings you would like. I just rattled off some of my basic ones.
3. Put all the scraps in the pot along with the seasonings. Add enough water to cover it. I don't measure anything, so please just trust yourself. Except for this...start with 1/2 tsp of salt. You can always add a little more later. Also, when you are using the stock in a recipe, you will most likely be adding salt anyway. Don't make your soup crappy before you even start cooking it!
4. Let the whole thing come to kind of a rolling simmer. You don't want it boiling, but you don't want the veggies sitting in the pot in lukewarm water either.You should cover it and let it simmer for about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
5. Depending on the time of day that you are doing this, it's time to pour yourself a glass of wine. Unlike my last post, you will have a nice amount of time to enjoy this glass. Also, go do something else. Put in a load of laundry. Watch Fringe. Read a non-parenting magazine.
6. When the stock is done, it should smell like soup. If it smells like crap, the chances are that something went south in your scraps bag and now you just cooked a bunch of rotten stuff. Gross. Go water the plants and try again in a week. If it smells good, let it cool before straining out all of the veggie scraps.
7. You will be left with two awesome things...one, you will have beautiful golden veggie stock that you can use in soups and recipes.
You will also be left with a wet, soggy mess of cooked veggie scraps that are now PERFECT for your compost pile.
You don't compost? Well, this time I am going to let your grandmother slap you around. In any case, enjoy your gluten-free veggie stock. This time around I managed to get about 6 1/2 cups of stock, thus saving myself about $6. I make a lot of soup and use a lot of stock to flavor chicken, so I can go through 6 cups fairly quickly. You can freeze this and save it...also, I suggest freezing some in an ice cube tray so that if you only need a couple of tablespoons in a recipe, you would just need to throw in a couple of cubes. You're welcome. ;)