As mentioned in a previous blog, it’s canning off season, and the polar vortext has left me, a skier and winter lover, stuck inside. What do I do with time on my hands? I cook stuff.
I’ve been considering making my own veggie stock. I use it in several recipes, and I’ve noticed that the most obvious flavor that most veggie stocks impart is salt. They are salty. I don’t taste much else there.
I’ve wondered how much my recipes would improve if I had some kick-ass veggie broth instead of mega-salty water. I hunted broth recipes. I’ve not made this before, so I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was armed with one bit of knowledge. The holy trinity of veggie soup flavor is garlic, celery and onion.
Garic? Check. Onion? Check. Celery? Check. Plus, thyme and coriander are wonderful additions. Bonus points for most of the ingredients already present in my fridge.
My first time making this I salted once the broth was finished. I added about 3 teaspoons. That was salty enought to accentuate the flavors, but not so much that it over powered the veggies. Otherwise I didn’t wander from the recipe. The broth didn’t have much flavor. But then, I don’t imagine broths are supposed to have much flavor. Isn’t that why you add stuff to them for soups and use them as a base for other stuff?
The real test of the broth would come the first time I used in a recipe. My first use cases were in a recipe for peanut thai noodles and then pineapple curry. Both were super, but the recipes only called for a half a cup of broth. Given this insignificant amount as compared to other ingredients, I didn’t notice an earth shattering difference. But when I used the broth in pumpkin curry soup, I noticed. It just made the soup have a little more depth. That soup is already spectacular; the homemade broth bumped it up.
My first run out with the broth was successful enough that I wanted more. On my second batch, I browned the veggies and got a nice fond on the bottom of my pot before deglazing with the 3 quarts of water. This minor step both brought a nice color to the broth and also imparted a great flavor. I will continue with this modification.
When I make my third batch of broth I will make another addition. Mushrooms. I think the earthy addition will round out the flavor and make this broth a go to for cream of mushroom soup. Yum. I can’t wait to try this.
Broth requires pressure canning. I didn’t pressure can my first batch of broth. I poured some of it into ice cube trays and the rest went into 1.5 pint jars. Broth ice cubes were a stroke of genius on my part. I have a number of recipes that call for a small amount of broth (less than a cup). My 1.5 pint jars carry too much liquid to thaw a whole jar and only use a half a cup.
We pressure canned the second batch. It was as much an experiement as it was a necessity. It simply isn’t that difficult to store 3 quarts of broth in the freezer, unless you are some sort of food hoarder. (I just thought of what it must smell like in the home of a food hoarder and grossed myself out.) The pressure canning went fine. I don’t know that I will find time to replenish my veggie stock once we hit canning season, but I am sure I will miss it when I return to using those little cubes of salt that pass for bullion.