On a blustery, rainy evening, when the mind is set on a slow-simmered pot of soup, there can’t be too much to nitpick or niggle about if all the ingredients are within arm’s reach to whisk up something that only feels like it was slow-simmered, whereas it actually comes together in a trice. Which is why, on other blustery evenings, we put in a bit of work that will come in handy on a, well, rainy day.
A home-made, robust and flavorful stock from scraps of vegetables that we’re all too familiar with, when they’ve been used and left to lounge in the refrigerator trays until they’re sighted upon and deemed fit for the garbage. Stems and stalks, tops and ribs, and all manner of nutrient-rich in-betweens go into this hearty preparation, and it enhances the flavor quotient of soups, rice varieties, or even breads, should you use it to knead the dough.
Vegetable Stock from Kitchen Scraps
(Makes about 2 litres)
- 2½ Litres water
- 3 Corn cobs
- 2 Leek tops – the dark green parts
- 2 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1″ pieces
- Stem of one broccoli head, cut into thick slices
- Handful of cilantro stems
- Handful of spinach stems
- 1 large onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 large carrot, cut into thick slices
- 1 Lemongrass bottom, chopped, optional
- 1 knob galangal or ginger, smashed
- Bring the water to a boil in a large stockpot.
- Meanwhile prepare the corn cobs. Hold a cob vertically in a large platter and use a knife to cut off the kernels. Turn and repeat on all the sides. Do the same with the remaining cobs. Reserve the kernels for another use.
- Put the corn cobs and the other ingredients except the lemongrass and ginger into the boiling water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the lemongrass (if using) and ginger to the stock pot. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and strain the stock. Discard the vegetables.
- Allow the stock to cool completely and then store in glass bottles or containers. Refrigerate and use over the next week. You can also freeze the stock to use later.
You can use this stock in all kinds of soups and stews instead of water to add an extra depth of flavour. Add salt and seasonings based on the soup recipe. Use galangal and lemongrass if you’d like to give the stock a hint of Thai freshness or leave them out for regular stock.