Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vegetable Stock

I make this and freeze it in 1 qt plastic containers; if you decide to do the same, remember to leave room at the top for expansion. Love this stuff, and the Garlic Broth  that calls for it. Depending on how much it cooks down, you'll get about 4 qts of stock; I like it to cook down a lot because then it has a really rich flavor, and all the vitamins are more concentrated, so I end up with 3 qts.

4 medium yellow onions, quartered
4 large, or the equivalent, carrots, peeled and cut into fourths
4 stalks celery, tops included, cut into fourths
4 Idaho potatoes (3 if they're huge), cut into large chunks
4 leeks, white parts only, cut in half lengthwise, chopped and thoroughly rinsed
Unpeeled cloves from 1 head garlic
12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 bay leaves
10 stems thyme leaves
12 whole black peppercorns
1 TB kosher salt
spring water or filtered tap water

Combine all the ingredients except the salt in a large stock pot that holds at least 7-8 qts and fill to about 1/2" below the rim with water. The fastest way I know to bring it to a boil is to use an electric kettle to heat the water in 1.5 litre increments; just keep heating kettles of water to boiling and pour them in. Add the salt now - if you put the salt in the pot in cold water, it could pit the bottom of the pot. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce to a gentle simmer so the bubbles are slowly rising to the top, and cook uncovered for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

For even more intense flavor, make a Roasted Vegetable Stock.

Strain the stock through a colander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Don't skip this step or you'll end up with potato starch in your stock. Use immediately or freeze. Discard the veggies and seasonings. My husband picks out the cooked carrot and potato and saves it as a special treat for our dog Lucy.

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