homemade essentials: basic vegetable stock

©fourwoodthinking

If bread is the heart of our homemade essentials, then stock is the soul.

When I first begin learning how to cook I thought I would never be able to make stock from scratch on a regular basis. It seemed expensive and time-consuming compared to the bouillon cubes of my childhood. It’s neither, just a practice like everything else. And with the help of a slow-cooker, stock only takes as long as the chopping.

It kicks bouillon cubes to the moon. The flavors are fresh and open for variety. Unlike the cubes, salt is added  by personal discretion in it’s final destination.

Flavors change depending on mood and the ingredients used, such as substituting carrots for parsnips, adding fresh herbs,  mushrooms or poultry bones. Heck, making stock is a great way to clean the fridge of all the leftover bits we haven’t used for other meals.

Now that I have a little one at my feet, the slow-cooker is my best friend. If the little tike is grumpy, I wrap him on my back and get to work without the worry of being too close to the stove.

Chop chop.

©fourwoodthinking

(The Most) Basic Vegetable Stock 
1/2 part onions and shallots
1/4 part carrots
1/4 part celery
fresh herbs, optional
chicken bones, optional
water (amount depends on desired flavor concentration)

Makes 3 Quarts
4 medium onions
4 large shallots
3 medium carrots
5 stalks celery
12 cups water

Chop all vegetables to about 1-inch pieces. Combine together with water in a large slow cooker and cook 8 hours or overnight. (For stove-top, use about 14 cups of water. Bring stock to a boil in a large pot, then drop the heat slightly and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for several hours.)

Place a strainer in a large bowl and carefully strain all of the contents. Use right away, refrigerate or freeze stock liquid.

{Use less water for a robust, concentrated stock and freeze in ice cube trays. Availability and thaw time is no time at all.}

Vegetables may be composted.

©fourwoodthinking

I recently started making Rivers’ rice cereal with stock instead of water, adding the slightest pinch of salt. What a hit! Now I’m wondering why I didn’t think to do it sooner.

©fourwoodthinking

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