Homemade vegetable stock is a great way to use every last bit of the veggies you buy, and it can be frozen for later use to add wonderful flavor to any recipe.
When cooking, save things like the butt ends of carrots and celery (cut out the tough stem part of the carrot, and the hard base of the celery), celery leaves, clean potato peels, and the rubbery outer layers of an onion (do not use the skin; it will make your stock bitter). Keep a covered container in the fridge for collecting these scraps. At the end of the week, use your treasures to make stock.
Basic Vegetable Stock
Here’s my recipe for basic stock, you can add or subtract ingredients depending on the scraps you have. Some people discard the veggies and use the remaining water for stock; I like to puree the veggies into the stock to make a paste.
Carrot scraps, diced
Celery scraps, diced
Onion scraps, diced
Dash of black pepper
Mrs. Dash’s Table Blend seasoning
Water to cover, plus one inch more
Cook all in a small saucepan at a low boil for an hour or so or until everything is soft and the water has boiled down to barely cover. It will smell maddeningly good! Then, puree all in a food processor. Stock should be about like tomato paste in consistency. Spoon portions into an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, you can liberate them from the tray and put in a freezer bag. Then, thaw one cube at a time as needed for recipes.
Cooking with Stock
Vegetable stock can be used to add flavor to rice, casseroles, other vegetables, grilled chicken, soups and sauces. Here’s a very simple recipe for a quick and satisfying meal using stock:
Simple Veggie Stock Pasta
Cooked pasta (whole wheat linguini is good)
One cube of vegetable stock (thawed) per serving
Olive oil (if you can find olive oil with sundried tomato, it’s excellent for this)
Toss the pasta with stock and olive oil to coat. Microwave briefly to heat through. Sprinkle with parmesan. Enjoy!