No-Waste Veggie Stock
Stock is probably the easiest thing you can make with the most payoff. ‘The Uncommon Woman’ and I have been doing this for a long time now… Every piece of veggie end that we have when we chop up veggies for our dishes throughout the week goes into a bag in the freezer until the weekend when it’s time to stock up. Every shallot, onion, and garlic end; every skin from a carrot; every dark green top from leeks and onions; every woody mushroom stem; every celery crown; so on and so on.
We don’t even buy stock anymore, and if we’re forced to for a last minute recipe we’re never as impressed as when we use our own. This is great too when you have too many veggies in the fridge and won’t have a chance to use them before they go bad. We just chop ours up and throw them in the bag for the stock (‘The Uncommon Woman’ always reminds me to make sure the scraps are rinsed before going in the bag).
Our key too is our pressure cooker (highly recommended). Instead of several hours (4-8) on low heat the pressure cooker does it in 35-45 minutes. But of course you can still do it in a stock pot if you’ve got the day to waste away; it warms the house and makes it smell nice (if you do this make sure the veggies are covered by about 2-3 inches throughout the process, keep adding water if necessary). We usually make several quarts and throw ‘em in the freezer.
Another key, browning the veggies. I throw them in the cast iron skillet on medium-high until the veggies are lightly browned before I drop them into the pot. I don’t brown them in the stock pot because I don’t want the stock to be too toasty.
We throw in white wine and tomato paste at the end to add a little umami to the party.
Homemade Veggie Stock
Big Ziploc bag full of veggie scraps: Obviously the key is to have aromatics. We always have plenty of carrot, onion, and garlic scraps.
2 cloves roughly chopped garlic
2-4 thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (keep the salt light so you can control it in the recipe you use the stock in later down the line)
2-3 bay leaves
2 1/4 quarts of water
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
It all depends on how much you’re going to make of course, this recipe yields about 4 quarts. We throw it all together (minus the wine and tomato paste), cover it with the water, bring to a boil then cover and seal. Once the valve starts exhausting the steam in a steady fashion we bring the heat down to medium-high and let it go for about 35-45 minutes. At the end when you take off the cover add the wine and tomato and let it continue to simmer for about 5 more minutes.
When done, strain the veggies out with a metal strainer lined with cheese cloth right into quart containers and either freeze or pop in the fridge for that recipe during the week.
NOTE: If you want to make chicken stock, just add the chicken bones or whatever you use, but keep the chicken to veggie ratio to about 3:1. Same thing. Also, we don’t usually put greens in there. The most we’ll do is swiss chard stems or something, but bitter greens will overpower it and also the green color greens produce makes the stock appear unappetizing because of the chloroform.