Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Layers unfolding inside a leek.
When you slice open a leek and see this (above) you stop thinking "soup" and start thinking "photo op." At least I do. :-)

Usually I rely on "Better Than Bouillon" Organic Vegetable Base to make the stock for my soup, but this weekend I thought I'd try a vegetable stock recipe from scratch.

Recipes from the Root Cellar, by Andrea Chesman, is a cookbook that I've been using a lot this winter. It's a great collection of recipes that use seasonal autumn and winter vegetables. Got celery root, rutabagas, and Jerusalem artichokes in your CSA food share? This book has you covered.

Some of my favorites include Maple-Balsamic Root Vegetables, Potato-Carrot Tart, Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Winter Vegetables, Barley-Vegetable Soup, Pasta e Fagioli, and the recipe that inspired my broth-making adventure, Winter Minestrone.

Since I was using Chesman's Minestrone recipe it only seemed sensible to use her recipe for Vegetable Broth. It's super easy, and relatively quick. Unless you decide to stop and photograph produce. Then it takes a little longer.

Once you're done photographing the cabbage, garlic, carrots, onion, leeks, fennel bulb, and dried mushrooms, peel, trim, and quarter the appropriate amounts, throw them in a big pot with dried thyme and water, simmer for about 30 minutes, add white wine and black peppercorns and simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and you've got about 4 quarts of vegetable broth. It's pretty tasty even without salt. I'd estimate about an hour from start to finish (without photography), and most of that is just simmering time. Easy-peasy!

That Minestrone is going to be delicious!

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