Sunday, April 5, 2009

vegetable stock

So we had a bunch of left over celery, onions, and shallots kind of hanging around from the past few deliveries. While the onions and shallots could have easily kept for another week or so, the celery was not getting along quite as well so I decided to make a quick batch of stock, because we were completely out of the aseptically packed stuff, and well, nothing tastes quite like homemade. I grabbed a few organic carrots from work and had at it. This recipe made 3 quarts of stock, and cost close to nothing to make. Properly storing it, you could have stock for a while. Heck, got a pot big enough and some recycled or reusable containers? Double or triple it!

3 quarts + 1 cup water
1 large bunch of celery, chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large shallot roughly chopped
1 white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
1 small sprig dried rosemary (or 2 tsp dried whole leaves)
2 Tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
three quart sized or six pint sized heat safe containers

Put your stock pot to medium heat and add in the oil. When the oil is hot, add all the vegetables and saute for 6-8 minutes until the onions just start to soften. Toss in all of the herbs, a few pinches of salt and pepper, and continue to stir for 1-2 minutes to let the flavors mingle. Add your water and cover the pot. Once the pot reaches a boil, after about 12-14 minutes, turn the heat down to low and let simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

Using a fine mesh strainer (want to put some cheesecloth in there- even better!), strain stock into another large vessel, like a pitcher. If you still see a lot of "floaties" strain again using more cheesecloth, or even a coffee filter if you have the time to wait, and get ready to store. Fill your containers of choice (Katie and I usually make pretty big batches of things, so I chose quart containers. Containers I have saved from the hot bar at work.) with stock, leaving about an inch at the top of each one. Let containers sit uncovered on the counter top to cool for about an hour. Transfer the containers of stock to the fridge, leaving them uncovered for an additional 2 hours. Once they have finished cooling and are at refrigerator temperature you can cover them with lids, and now you can transfer any stock you won't be using in the next week to the freezer where it will keep for a few months. It is important that any containers that are going into the freezer have that gap of about an inch at the top, or they may break the lid when the freezing liquid expands. Now you have a lot of awesome homemade stock!

It may seem like a long process and a lot of work, but it is totally something you can do while working around the house, hanging around your neighborhood, or watching an entire season of TV on DVD one evening.

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