Carrots, Onion and Celery

29 Oct

One person’s scraps are another’s treasure, at least when it comes to making veggie stock. The most humble parts of the most humble vegetables, such as onion skins, celery tops and carrot greens, (translation: the parts that normally go into the compost bin) are blended with water, a frugal bay leaf, and some of the wilted ends of fennel or mushroom stems and a few peppercorns. Sounds delicious, right? Even though it sounds unlikely, it renders the most satisfying base for any soup.

Making vegetable stock appeals to the pioneer inside of me that is resourceful and prudent. All you need to start is an empty plastic bag inside of your refrigerator crisper drawer, or even in the freezer, and every time you have leek tops, carrot bottoms, kale or chard stems (just about everything but brassicas like broccoli or cauliflower), save it for stock making day. Once you have a gallon bag full of vegetables, throw them into a 12-quart stock pot along with one chopped onion, a few chopped carrots, a few stocks of chopped celery, then fill the pot to the top with cold water. Add a bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, and let it come to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.

All of the vegetables get strained out of the liquid, and then cooled in small batches, then stored in the freezer or fridge. Use it for soups, braises and stews, it makes all the difference in flavor.

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