Thursday, January 22, 2009

Free soup!

One of the challenges I have set for myself for 2009 is to never again buy pre-fab stock for my soups. The buying of big containers full of flavored water for up to $3.50 per 32 oz has always irked me, but I never really took the plunge to make an effort to end this travesty.
If we look at the ingredients of the stock pictured above, the first one listed is “water” - and of course water accounts for about 98% of what is in that $3 container, all the rest of the ingredients onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, salt, spices, oil and garlic are represented as mere trace elements floating in water.
To get to make your own stock for free I followed the advice of a dear friend and restaurant owner, who makes the best soups far and wide. His secret lies in the compost bin - or rather the things he will not throw in, in order to make soup. Kitchen scrap soup - I am pretty sure that was also my grandmother’s secret for her fantastic vegetable soup. Basically as you chop veggies for stir fries, curries or any other vegetable dish, have a separate container ready to collect all the bits and pieces that even though they are not good enough - or sometimes merely not attractive enough - for your stir fry - they are perfect for cooking over a slow simmer and giving you that flavor that we are looking for in a good broth. The obvious candidates are: the tough core of a cabbage, the woody ends of broccoli, the butts of carrots, the outer layer - not the skin - of onions, the stem of kale etc. All these should go into your soup stock container and keep in the refrigerator for two or three days - after that - if you are eating enough veggies - as you should - you will have a full container of cookable scraps. Put up a large pot with water, salt and spices and simmer - after about an hour you have wonderful and free stock! Enjoy!
It freezes great and lasts almost indefinitely!


Justine said...

I've always loved this tip! I've really been enjoying the Better than Bouillon Vegetarian No Chicken Stock. No, it's not as good as homemade, but I really like the convenience of scooping out just what I need.

Courtney - Web Writing said...

What a great tip! I've always wanted to make my own stock but I never had the wherewithal to plan to make it. With this, it's very simple to do.

City Girl said...

This is a great tip! I have been doing this for a while now and it is totally worth it. It is the perfect thing to occupy a lazy Sunday.