Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's Cooking, Thursday, February 7- Vegetable Broth

* This is a photo of the vegetable broth I made two weeks ago. I used it in Leek-Potato Soup and in a Cannellini Bean Stew with Beet Greens, Spanish Chorizo, and Hot Paprika.

I do not make my own beef broth, and unless I roast a whole chicken, I do not make chicken broth either. There are bouillon cubes,bases, and canned broths aplenty that I use, and I do not despise them.

Vegetable broth is different. I make it from scraps of potato and onion peelings that I stash in the freezer. I also toss one carrot, one potato, a garlic clove, half a whole onion, two bay leaves, and the green tops of leeks into a pasta pot and cover them with three quarts of water. I add a little kosher salt, then bring the pot to a boil. Then I lower the heat to simmer, cover it and let it steep for three to five hours.

I next strain out the used vegetables, and I return the pot to the stove. Now I turn the heat up to low, put the lid back on askew, and allow the broth to reduce by 1/3. One can use the broth as is without reduction, but its flavor will be diluted.

I think the secret to this is in the leek tops. I use four to six.

I had to separate and wash the ones pictured here, as they had mud secreted inside the leaves. This is common with leeks, as growers mound up dirt against the stems as they grow to keep the leek bottoms white-

There is no straining out fat globules and scum with this broth as there is with poultry and meat broths.

I consider the leek the king of vegetables, and its flavor defines this broth. Use it in Cream of Potato and Leek Soup, which cures low moods and fits of anxiety, at least for the duration of the dinner hour. "In headaches and in worry/Vaguely life leaks away,/And Time will have his fancy/Tomorrow or today". So wrote W.H. Auden.

But not while you are eating leek soup. Had Eve reached for a leek instead of an apple, the world would be a different place.

* I will be making Leek and Potato Soup later today. I may take a picture of it and post my recipe, though I am certain recipes for it are all over on-line.


Out on the prairie said...

Sounds good,I used to get bones from my butcher and make broth after baking and boiling them.I had a big freezer to store them in and it was nice for him to save me nice marrow bones I could use.

Like that you found "My Antonia", my family homesteaded close to where Cather grew up, not too far from where I live now.A heart warming read.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Well this blog definitely makes me hungry :) I should not have visited it on an empty stomach :)

troutbirder said...

Soup is good food and I do love leeks having grown my own several times. A neighbor brought over some "ramps" one spring and not recognizing them for wild leeks I didn't use them. Dumb me.....:(

betsy said...

Troutbirder- I think ramps grew in New England, and I was oblivious to them as well. I know they do not grow in Nashville.

betsy said...

Steve-I have read most of Cather, but not "My Antonia" or "Shadows On the Rock". I read "Song of the Lark". last month, and just finished "Antonia". I was sorry when it ended!