Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Best Vegetable Stock EVER

This is a great recipe for those occasions when you find some sad carrots or wilted celery in the back of the fridge. DON'T throw it out! Instead, use these and any other veggie scraps as a starter for a batch of veggie stock.

If you do any home canning, you can preserve a big batch so you always have it on hand. Though stock freezes well, so portioning out a few gallons and throwing it in the freezer until you need it is a great alternative to the overprices, tasteless salt water that passes for stock at the supermarket.

This recipe calls for the pressure cooker. Food writer Mark Bittman once wrote in his New York Times column how much more concentrated and delicious the flavors become (not to mention a faster preparation time) when you use a pressure cooker. That said, if you don’t own a pressure cooker, a large stock pot or Dutch oven will still work.

As with any stock recipe, feel free to add any other ingredients that sound good—from lemon peel to thyme to fresh turmeric to sage leaves.

3 quarts water
1 leek, chopped
½ onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 celery stalks, chopped
20 peppercorns
2 TBSP + 1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients except salt in the pressure cooker. Bring to boil over high heat. Put on the lid and reduce heat. Bring the cooker up to manufacturers’ recommendation and process for 25 minutes. When done, strain out and discard veggies. Stir salt into broth.

If you’re not using a pressure cooker, bring the pot to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered for at least two hours. You’ll want to add additional water as it boils off. When done, salt to taste and strain out and discard veggies.

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