Decorating, Cooking, Party Ideas, Travel, and a Halloween addiction

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Free vegetable stock!

I don't know about you all, but I LOVE free stuff. In my opinion, you just can't beat free!
 But I digress....
 As I'm sure some of you have realized by now, I cook approx. five nights a week. Partially because it is a heck of a lot cheaper, but also because it is WAY healthier. {plus I'm a pretty good cook if I do say so myself!}
I wanted to share this idea that I reinterpreted . When I was cooking for a living, I had the privilege to work with some classically trained chefs. One of the main things I learned was that in the classic French kitchen, there is no waste. Every part of an animal or vegetable is valuable. The way I applied this to my home kitchen is in the form of vegetable stock.
I hate store bought stock for two reasons.....1- it has a ridiculous amount of sodium in it, 2- it is way over priced.
The simple way to solve this is make your own. -with scraps.
Here's what I do....
over a week or so save all of you veggie trimmings in a big tub or Ziploc. The main things you want to have are onion, carrot and celery.  Those 3 are referred to as Mirepoix in french cooking, and are the foundation in basically any soup, stew, or sauce . So the tips, stalks, peelings, rinds, and any ugly ones or ones that are on the verge of spoiling throw in the bag. Any thing goes except things like lettuce and cucumber. I also do not add eggplant bits or winter squash bits. But parsnip, zucchini, tomato, green beans are all good bets.
Try to keep the bag in the coldest part of the fridge to prolong its life until you feel like making it.
Throw everything into a big pot and add twice as much water as you have veggie scraps.
Add in herbs. I use a combo of 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp oregano,1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp savory,  dash of sage,  1/2 tsp basil, and salt and pepper {whole peppercorns are best]
 Go easy on the basil and sage because their flavor will take over the whole pot.  This step is one that you just learn what flavor after making it a few times
Boil for 10minutes then reduce to medium heat and simmer for a few hours.
strain everything through a wire mesh strainer. throw away veggies. Use stock in soups, sauces  or anything else you would normally use water in , but want an extra kick.

Although I am now a vegetarian, I was cooking meat in the not too distant past.
 On a side note if you want to make a beef or chicken stock, this method would work as well, just add in 1 chicken carcass {leftover from a deli- roasted chicken perhaps} or beef shank bones.

For the beef - Get a few pounds of beef shank bones {shank is used because of the connective tissue and marrow} smear them with tomato paste and then roast in the oven to improve the taste before adding to your stock mixture


  1. I save and freeze tops of leeks and woody parts of asparagus for soups, and seafood shells, but I never thought to keep the other scraps for a broth. Great idea.

  2. Just last night I was thinking, "I sure do through away a lot of veggie bits. What a waste." Now I know what to do with them. Thank you!