I had a very unpleasant dream the other night in which a reader of my blog, having read my sum-up of a vegetable stock, only put a splash of water in with his onions, celery, and carrots. When his concoction didn’t turn to stock, he hunted me down and kicked me in the shins. True story.
And so, today we make stock.
Really few things on this earth are easier, but the basic principle of a vegetable stock is to cook down vegetables in water until they make a very strong broth that can be added to nearly anything as a flavor enhancer. Some make chicken stock, others fish stock, but I prefer a good old fashioned veggie stock. (I confess that the notion of boiling carcass to death gives me the heebie jeebies.) The recipe for a standard stock is two parts onion, one part celery, one part carrot. We used three onions, a bunch of carrots, and two thirds of a celery, peppercorns, and then added everything else we had laying around. We had swiss chard stalks, the tops of garlic scapes, carrot peals, and anything leftover that didn’t go into our compost. Keep away from anything too fibrous like potato peels or lettuce or onion skins, which will make your stock murky in color and taste. But for most of your veggie remains, chuck it in. Then cover with cold water, place on the stove on high heat until it comes to a simmer – not a boil! Turn down the heat, cover, and let it simmer until your heart’s content – not boil! And leave it.
Really, leave it.
Leave it some more.
After a day of simmer, remove the vegetables by straining the liquid into a second pot. Chill your pot in the fridge uncovered (covered grows bacteria). Once it’s cool we like to put our stock in ice cube trays, which keep well and are always handy. Batta-bing. Stock.