Monday, June 13, 2011

Basic Veggie Broth for Soup

I know. It's summer, and you may not be thinking about soup making this time of year. Especially if you are in Hotlanta like me! But I'm posting it anyways because I really have fallen in love with this recipe. This past winter, I made this broth every week, until it dawned on me that I could make a ginormous batch and freeze it. Thank you freezer-safe Ball jars :)

Now that it is summer, I make it less often. However, it is the base for most of my soups, risottos, sauces, or anything that calls for broth really. It is much cheaper than buying broth from the store, and I know what is in it! I also like the taste of fresh brothed vegetables better than anything from a can or a box. And if used with natural sea salt, this soup is good for sick tummies. Just increase the salt to replenish electrolytes.

This recipe is a base, you really can't put any vegetable in this broth that will make it turn out funky....or at least I haven't yet, and I've tried some interesting "clean out the refrigerator broths" :) The sky is the limit. This broth has helped me be more sustainable, and waste less. Also, you can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe...if you have a big enough stock pot!

Basic Vegetable Broth
Makes about 2 Quarts

  • 2 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic (can adjust according to taste, also depends on size of clove- I use big cloves so I only put in about 6)
  • 3 long stalks of celery (about 12"-14" and you can include the leaves)
  • 2 very large carrots, peeled (or 8 or so baby carrots)
  • 1 cup of greens (like kale, turnip or beet greens, I've even used arugula with good results)
  • 1 Tbsp of dried herbs (I use basil and thyme or Herbs de Provence, or 2 Tbsp, if I'm using fresh herbs)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns, whole
  • 2 quarts of filtered water
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tsp natural sea salt (or more to your taste buds liking)
  • Chop all vegetables, chunky style. I usually just chop the garlic cloves in half.
  • Heat the oil in a stock pot on medium heat. When hot, add the vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns.
  • Saute veggies, herbs, and peppercorns over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Add water, salt, and bay leaf, cover, and bring to a boil (sometimes this takes a while if you are doing a big batch, but wait for it to boil before going to next step).
  • When it reaches the boiling point, start a timer for 45 minutes, and cut the heat down to low.
  • Simmer for 45 minutes (it will reduce down some, that's OK).
  • Taste for saltiness, and add more if desired.
  • Cut off heat and let the broth cool for at least 30 minutes. If you leave it uncovered while it cools more water will evaporate off, increasing the flavor. Cover if you don't want it to get any stronger.
  • Pour the broth through a strainer and into a container.
  • This will keep in refrigerator for a week, store what you won't use in a week in the freezer to de-thaw later.
Tips & Variations
  • For a basic, all purpose broth, just use thyme as the herb component. If you know you will be using it for Italian dishes, try Herbs de Provence blend or fresh rosemary, oregano, and basil. Sometimes when I know I want to use it for chili, I will toss in some whole cumin seeds for extra zing.
  • If you make batches ahead of time, this stores well in the freezer. Just be sure to put it into a freezer-safe container so that your container doesn't bust when the liquid expands (yes, this happened to me a while back and I sadly threw my jar and yummy broth away :(
  • Also, you can mix up the vegetables to your flavor liking. If you want your broth sweeter (say, for a sick kid) increase the carrots. If you think it's too sweet, decrease the carrot and increase the onion, greens, or other bitter vegetable.
  • Don't be afraid to try other veggies, like cabbage, turnips/ root vegetables, cauliflower, or tomatoes (makes a yummy base for vegetable soup), for example.

So I decided not to put up a bland pic of just broth, but here's a sneak peek of a yummy soup recipe made with the broth, soon to be posted :)

Happy Brothing,

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