Thursday, February 3, 2011

Instead of Baking, I Made Vegetable Stock!

Quickly approaching a serious case of cabin fever with all of these snow days, cleaning out my vegetable bin in the fridge seemed like a worthy enough chore.  I actually went into the kitchen with every intention of baking something but the over-flowing vegetable bin was calling my name.  So I grabbed the cutting board, and my biggest stock pot and went to work.  In went an entire bunch of flat leaf parsley, a few carrots (rough chopped, I didn't even peel them!) a partial bunch of celery, including the leafy tops, some green onions, about 4 cloves of garlic (just smashed, I didn't even bother to peel them) and a big yellow onion (rough chopped, I didn't even peel it) and of course a couple of fresh jalapenos, sliced.  Then I added about 10 quarts of water, some salt and pepper, and a couple of bouquet garni.  A bouquet garni is bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soups, stocks and stews.  The bouquet is boiled with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.
There's everything in the pot.  You can see what a rough chopping job I did.
I just brought everything to a boil and then reduced to a simmer and let it go.
I let the amount of liquid reduce by about half.
I strained out the cooked vegetables and bouquet garni.

In a new stockpot, I let the strained stock come to a boil and then I turned it down to a simmer.  I let the amount of liquid reduce by half again.
After the stock had reduced down, I seasoned it with a little bit of salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  You can see how rich and dark the stock became after it reduced down.

Now I have homemade stock in my freezer.  It will be a great base for soups, stews and sauces.  The best part is, those random veggies in the vegetable bin did not go to waste!

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