This is going to be a quick but useful post. Toward the end of each week, when we are frantically trying to make use of our remaining vegetables from the current share in order to make room for the upcoming share, we tend to make a lot of soups. I did that today and I made one of the best vegetable soups I've ever tasted. I can't wait to tell you about it tomorrow.
But tonight I am tired and my husband just returned from a mancation and we have a house guest and our baby is teething... so for now I am just going to talk about vegetable broth, which I made this weekend and which you should all make all the time, because it is cheap, resourceful, delicious, and cleansing.
Here's the deal with making vegetable broth: All you need are water, vegetables, herbs (fresh or dry or both), salt and peppercorns. You put it all in a big pot and let it stew for a while. Then you strain and - voila! - broth. So easy. I can't believe I don't make this every week.
Another good thing about vegetable broth is that there are v. few rules. I think anything goes, although stronger flavors are going to result from stronger vegetables, naturally, so garlic, onions, celery, and root vegetables are important ingredients, as are dried mushrooms and herbs if you want an especially earthy, potent broth. Things I didn't have but wish I did were carrots, parsnips, turnips, and more parsley.
In my stock pot, I placed the following:
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 head garlic, outer flesh removed, rinsed, and halved
1 potato, scrubbed and halved
1 small red pepper, halved
1 small green pepper, halved
1 big cucumber, cut into three large chunks
1 small head of lettuce, coarsely torn, including stem/heart
3 celery ribs, with leaves
handful each of fresh dill, basil, cilantro, parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon sea salt
I added to the stock pot enough water to just cover the vegetables - in my case, 3-4 quarts of water.
I brought the water to a boil and let the vegetables simmer, covered, for 2 hours. (The vegetables will look all wilty and sad after 2 hours have passed.)
Then I removed and strained 5 cups of the broth to use in the soup I'll talk about tomorrow, which I thought would need a lighter-flavored broth.
I left the rest of the broth and vegetables in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, then I strained it. I also ate the potato. It was v. good. The yield was about 12 cups of broth, total. That's a lot.
This is just a sample of what can be used to make your own vegetable broth. Really I think you could use anything. I once read that some people save all their stems and old bits from vegetables and fresh herbs and they rinse and freeze them and then use them for broth later. I don't have enough room in my tiny freezer to do that but if you do, I bet it's wonderful.
I'll see you tomorrow and we'll talk about SOUP!