Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vegetable Broth Recipe

I will be honest. I often just "make up" or "make do" with what is in my kitchen when I am cooking. Not to the point of letting go of the most important ingredients, but substitutions that make sense can sometimes turn a favorite recipe into a new treat. 

Whenever I wing a brand new recipe I always figure the worst that could happen is we will reheat leftovers if it doesn't work out so well. Other times I just slightly change a basic staple of the meal, because everything else that I am cooking will make it taste divine. One of these basic recipes that I just whip up is a vegetable broth base for soups and stews. Good tasty broth is important, but once you add all those other goodies in the soup or stew they provide tons of good flavor that can compliment a tasty basic broth. 

Over the past few years I have slowly cut out pre-made broths or broth mixes by making this simple broth. To make this broth I use vegetables that aren't bad but they are not good enough to be featured as a main course of any meal (whether we learn that we just don't like that vegetable as a main or we didn't eat it up fast enough). I think it is a great way to use up some less desirable produce and it gets us closer to an existence without processed packaged foods (not to mention lower the cost of our grocery bill).

Below is the basic recipe I use to make veggie broth that will be used in so many other recipes...

Vegetable Broth

Ingredients that I never skip:

6 to 8 cups of water
1/2 to 1 full onion 
1 pepper
3 to 6 garlic cloves
1 potato
course sea salt
black pepper
3 or 4 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 to 4 carrots
either several celery stalks or a small cabbage or a small bunch of kale
a few shakes of soy sauce
Any other desired vegetables

When making this recipe be mindful of the amount of ingredients available. If your produce is on the lighter end then only boil with 6 cups of water, if you have loads of produce boil with 8 cups of water. For example if you only have 1/2 onion, 3 garlic cloves, and 2 carrots to add with the other listed ingredients then boil with 6 cups of water. 

I often add mushrooms, tomatoes, turnips, radishes or small pieces of parsnip if I have them in the fridge and they should be used up. Also I am known to use up fresh herbs this way. If you choose to add a variety of herbs make sure to add herbs that will easily pair with soups or dishes that you make at home often.

Clean all vegetables, remove unwanted sections of produce (bruises, etc) and chop (minimal chopping required). Add all veggies, herbs, and soy sauce to water. Bring to boil. Simmer for one hour or longer. Strain all vegetables from broth (great for compost!) and there you have it! (If the broth is too strong for your taste add water, if you would like more flavor add desired spices.)

Ladle up your broth into containers for freezing or use it for cooking your next dish. 

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