If you’re anything like me, the idea of making your own stock/broth is either
a) too complicated
b) not worth it or
I’d like to dedicate this post to my mum, who’s reaction when I asked her why she doesn’t make her own stock was a sigh that encompassed all of the above.
I was like that, once. But then we arrived in Obregon and I realised that if I wanted to make soups or meals with added broth, I had the option of chicken stock cubes or chicken stock powder. And I knew that I wouldn’t purchase and consume such things with Flavour Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides), Yeast Extract, Glucose Syrup Solids, Chicken Fat, Potato Starch, Sugar, Chicken Extract listed in the ingredients list and wheat flour as the main ingredient! (Yeah, check your labels people!). There had to be a better way.
I assumed that making my own stock would be time consuming and finicky. Turns out I was wrong.
If you a) want to eat healthier b) want to know exactly what you’re eating c) want to save money or d) all of the above, then I urge you to try making your own stock. I make it once a week and keep it in the fridge or freezer, depending on the week’s meal plan. I’ve been doing this for the last 4 months and it’s as easy as throwing some veggies in a pot – really.
Super Easy Vegetable Stock
Makes around 2 litres, add more or less veggies or water depending on what you need.
You can really use any mix of vegetables that you have lying around. This is where you can use up the slightly shriveled carrots or celery or anything else that might be nearing compost time! Of course you can use fresh vegetables too – I usually use a mix of whatever I have. Keep the tops, bottoms and peels on and cut roughly. The only thing I’d suggest is scrubbing everything gently, as you don’t want dirt in your broth. My usual ‘recipe’ is as follows:
- 2-6 stalks of celery (leaves and all)
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 big onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- handful of mushrooms
- 1 potato
- 1 -2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce/tamari (optional)
- large handful fresh herbs (I usually use parsley if I have it. It’s not essential.)
Rinse, chop roughly and leave skins/peels on everything.
Heat a big pot without oil and test for heat (splash a few drops of water in, if it sizzles, it’s hot). When it’s hot, dump all the ingredients except the soy sauce and herbs. Use a big spoon or spatula to stir the veggies around so they don’t burn. Keep stirring until they start to brown slightly. It’ll smell amazing!
Now add about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer – add soy sauce and herbs and leave simmering (with a lid on) for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and be prepared for people to ask ‘mmmm what’s cooking?’ because your house will smell glorious. I don’t usually add salt (except for the soy sauce) so that I can control how much salt goes into each dish I make. If you’d rather salt your broth, then that’s cool.
After 45 minutes, you can strain the broth into a bowl and leave on the counter until it’s cooled completely. Store it in the fridge if you’re using it within the week, or pour into a ziplock bag and freeze it.
And there you have it: Save money, be healthy and get immense satisfaction.
Some fun tips/extra stuff:
- To save even more money, during the week you can put vegetable scraps and ends in a ziplock bag in the fridge. When the bag gets full, make stock!
- Use vegetable stock as a substitute for oil in cooking. Just add a tsp or 2 instead of oil!
- Use vegetable stock instead of water when cooking rice or quinoa.
- Mika loves vege stock as a soup. I sometimes throw in some cooked veggies and she gobbles it up.