The magic of simmering stock
Why bother making stocks when you can buy it? A valid argument is that a homemade stock does not contain added substances or additives. This alone is enough reason and honestly the main reason why I make it at home. And trust me once you make your own it is really hard to go back to buying it again. I tell you one more thing once the stock is done; finishing soups and other food preparations is very easy.Besides it is so easy to make. Combine water, mirepoix (chop vegetables), a bouquet garni (herbs wrap in cheesecloth) and a good simmer, that’s all.
When I make vegetable stock, I keep it simple and neutral; meaning that I only add vegetables of neutral flavors such as onions, carrots, celery, leek, mushrooms stems or wholes, a bouquet garni and no salt added.
Why no salt? The reason for this is because stocks for the most part are made to finish other food preparations and sauces and therefore, you do not want any particular flavor overtaking the flavor of a dish. As for salt it is concerned the reasoning is that as water evaporates the added salt concentrate and this represents a problem later when preparing dishes.
I love making this stock; the colors of the vegetables are radiant and the fragrant smell of the delicious vegetables in your kitchen is priceless.
On a different note, how is the weather? Are you feeling a sign of spring yet? or is it still cold where you are as it is in NYC? I am very excited about spring this year especially after the long winter. I hope it gets warmer soon as my son and I are looking forward to the outdoors.
- 1 to 2 onions or about 6 oz.
- 2 to 3 carrots or about 10 oz
- 3 to 4 celery stalks or about 10 oz.
- 10 oz. mushrooms (including the stems)
- 1-2 leeks, green parts only
- 10 oz. plum tomatoes
- 6 ounces oil (optional)
- 4 liters water (1 gallon)
- For the bouquet garni
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small bunch of parsley stems
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Clean and wash all the vegetables and roughly chop them all. Place the vegetables in a soup pot and sweat them on its own moist or in the oil for a few minutes without letting them burn. Add the herbs from the bouquet garni (add them loose, there is no need to wrap them as the stock is to be strained at the end) and cook for a few minutes.
Add the water and bring it to a quick boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. If there is any foam then spoon it off.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Pass the stock through a metal strainer, chinois or cheese cloth. Strain the stock. Cool it down, storage, freeze or refrigerate for later use.
This post is also available in: Spanish