If you’re a model CSA member, then the thing to do with veggies that you cannot get to during the week, stems and leaves that look a wee bit less than perfect, and ends and detritus from chopping, is to freeze the whole mess in a gallon ziplock bag, and then to turn it into veggie stock when the bag is full.
But stock is a totally legitimate use for perfect veggies too (and, frankly, you’d want some great ones in an odds and ends stock anyway), and in the spirit of not dipping into my questionable bouillon any more, I made my first batch today.
Can I just say here that homemade stock has NOTHING in common with the prepackaged variety? It’s so vastly much better that I can’t believe it took me this long to try to make my own. Now if I could just get my hands on the pressure canner of my dreams, I’d never have a reason to use anything but homemade.
The trick to great stock is to brown the veggies in some oil until they get nice and dark and then boil the heck out of them. This means that if you are working with frozen odds and ends, you’ll probably still want to find a fresh onion and maybe some carrot or something to do some browning before dumping your frozen bits in with some water. I was starting out with all fresh, so I added it all in the first round.
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 – 4 carrots, roughly chopped
- 6 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- stems from one bunch chard
- 6 cloves garlic
- 6 dried mushrooms
- 1/4 C soy sauce
- salt and pepper
Add 1 – 2 Tbs EVOO to a large pot and set over medium-high heat. Add all fresh veggies and saute, stirring no more than once every 5 minutes for at least 15 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. I added about a gallon. Dump in mushrooms soy sauce and salt, and simmer 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your time.
Strain and taste for seasoning. Add salt or soy sauce if needed. Portion into convenient containers and freeze.