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.