The weather here is getting chilly (for LA standards anyway), which gave us a hankering for some tortilla soup to warm our bones. As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I also threw on a pot of fresh veg stock, killing two birds with one stone since I was in the kitchen anyway. I can be smart sometimes.
With soup season finally having made its way here to Cali, I want to show you not only how to use up all your leftover veggies but as importantly, how you can save money by making your own stocks. For me, veg stock is the easiest since we eat vegetables like crazy, meaning we always have scraps available. Instead of chucking the scraps into the green bin, we save them over a week’s time and make a pot of stock on the weekend. It’s really easy and once you do it once you’ll be hooked since this is all organic, fresh (not sitting on a shelf for who knows how long) and homemade by YOU!
Speaking of sitting on a shelf, you may have noticed there are different color prepackaged veg stocks available. A typical stock (be it chicken or veg) mainly uses light vegetables to retain a light colored broth, but with veg stock you can really use any scraps. Stalks and stems are gems and you can even use onion peels. A great rule of thumb is to use what you’d eat, meaning don’t use rotten scraps. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll accumulate scraps in a week!
BASIC STOCK RECIPE:
carrot (though it’s not technically light it will add flavor without adding much color)
couple of bay leaves
herbs such as parsley and thyme (use calmer flavored herbs that won’t overpower the broth)
ADDITIONS (FOR A DARKER TINT):
tomatoes (love to add tomatoes to my veg stock)
leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach)
sweet or mild pepper scraps
NOTE: On one occasion I threw in hot pepper scraps such as a jalapeño. With all the cooking time the stock had a serious kick to it so I wouldn’t necessarily do that again. I like my broths to be mild yet flavorful so I can add in spices when I’m cooking. Sometimes adding in hot ingredients throws off this balance.
Put all scrap ingredients into a large soup pot and fill entire pot with cold water, covering the veg as much as possible. Stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cook uncovered for a couple of hours to extract the vegetable flavors. Strain over another soup pot or large bowl, separating the scraps from the broth. Toss the scraps into the green bin and let the broth cool completely.
I like to divvy up the broth into containers and freeze until needed but will last for up to a week in a covered container in the fridge. Makes a great economical way to use up veg scraps and is perfect for soups, stews or in place of butter when making mashed potatoes. Told you I was a smarty-pants!
All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients.