14 March 2015

Veggie Stock

  A few days ago there was a post on a blog that I really enjoy following. The post was about making soup stock. Here is the link if you want to read the post, Taylor Made Ranch. In the post, Tammy was making the most of a roasted chicken that she had prepared for dinner, picking the meat off the bones and keeping it for other meals, and then she squeezed the last goodness out of the bird, by putting the carcass in the crockpot to make soup stock.
  Back when we ate meat I used to do the same thing .It was satisfying to use everything but the "cluck", knowing nothing was going to waste and making rich yummy stock for use later! I don't make stock from poultry or beef anymore since we are now eating a plant based diet, but I thought it would be fun to share one of the things I do now to live up to my "Waste not want not" credo.

We store in bulk many of the food items that we regularly use so I have an outdoor pantry. During the winter months it stays stays around 40 degrees in the pantry. I store my 3 month pantry goods in there, but I also use it as a make shift of root cellar. I store my citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges, as well as bushels of apples, and bags of potatoes and onions, and ropes of garlic. It works quite well, but eventually things will reach the end of their freshness and they will start to grow tops or sprout eyes. So periodically I will go through and cull out any veggies that are a little past their prime, cut them into chunks and and roast them.
Culled veggies chunked for roasting
I put the chunked veggies, skins and all on a large tray that has a thin layer of melted coconut oil on it, then spray the tops lightly with my olive oil filled Misto to prevent charring. Then I pop the tray in a 400 degree oven and roast until the vegetables are done through and caramelized.

 Once they are all soft and caramelized I put them in a stock pot or crock pot, (depending on how many culls I have), and add the bag of vegetable tops,ends and juicing pulp that I keep in the freezer for just such an occasion. I will cover the whole business with water, add salt and seasonings like fresh or dried herbs and whole pepper corns and put the pot on to boil. I boil the vegetables, adding water as needed, until the vegetables are cooked to a pulp. As it cooks, the house is filled with the redolent aroma of roasted vegetables... M-mmm, it make me hungry to think about it!!

 At this point I let the contents of the pot cool and then put the vegetables and stock into a large cheese cloth lined strainer, with another pot underneath to catch the strained broth.
I strain the stock in batches, pulling up the corners of the cloth and squeezing all the juices out before sending the pulp to the compost bin.

The resulting stock is a lovely golden color, and the flavor is rich and full bodied. I usually can some for the 3 month pantry and put some in reuseable, stackable plastic containers, in the freezer. I use the stock for a soup base for many different kinds of soup, one of my favorites being Sambar soup. Sambar soup is a spicy, thick soup with its roots in Indian cuisine. It is great to warm you from the inside out on a cold blustery day! The stock is also a great base for a simple vegetable soup,vegan tortilla soup, or really, it is good enough to just serve hot all by itself!

Frozen, canned, or use it fresh, any way you use it this stock is great!

                                                         Sambar Soup

*Some of these ingredients may not be readily available in the local grocery store, but can be purchased at an Indian grocery or even a Middle Eastern market, or online.

*1/2 cup Toor Dal, (dried split Pigeon Peas, may substitute with yellow split peas)
3/4 tsp. turmeric powder
*4-6 drumstick vegetable, (found frozen at the Indian market, but can be optional... they are woody on the outside and must be removed before serving to the uninitiated, but once familiar with them, they can be split and the soft centers sucked out. It's flavor is a cross between a green bean and asparagus. It is optional but does add a nice nuance to the soup. Possible substitution? The stems of asparagus would do... and if you are just wanting to flavor the pot and pull them out it would be a good use for the tough lower stems of the asparagus that you would normally throw away)
*2 Tblsp. Tamarind paste, (can be found in Latino and Indian Markets, the Indian market carries tamarind paste that is in a ready to use resealable pouch. The Latino market usually sells the tamarind in a "cake" which you cut a chunk off of and soak before using to loosen and remove the seeds. If you can't find tamarind paste, a Tblsp. of dark molasses and a 1 1/2 tsp. of balsamic vinegar will approximate the tamarind flavor).
*1 1/2-2 Tblsp. Sambar powder,( purchase from the Indian market, online or do what I like to do and make your own! Recipe follows.)
*1/2 tsp. Hing, also known as asefetida, (translated is means" it smells fetid".It is optional, but may be found at the Indian market.
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tblsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. black mustard seed
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seed,( also known as Methi in the Indian store)
*10 curry leaves, (optional)
2 red hot chiles, split and minced, seeded if you want less heat. Use latex gloves or you will regret it... )
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, cubed
1 chayote, peeled, seeded and cubed (optional, but really nice addition, can be found in the vegetable section of many grocery stores, looks like a bright green pear).
You can also add some celery, onion, chunks of sweet potato... whatever suits you, but know this, the soup is supposed to be more on the soupy side than the stew side... so make sure to have lots of broth if you add extra veggies. 
6 cups of water, (add more if the soup is getting too thick)

Rinse the Toor Dal in a strainer until the water runs clear. Put in pot with enough water to cover, (not the 6 cups...that is for later), let soak 20 minutes, then drain. Add 6 cups water, 1/2 tsp. turmeric and 1/4 tsp. Hing. Simmer until dal is soft. take about half of the toor dal and some of the cooking water and place in the blender, add Sambar powder, the rest of the Hing and turmeric, salt, and tamarind paste and blend until everything is liquified. Add back to the pot, stir well and add drum stick vegetable, carrots, potatoes, chayote, hot peppers and garlic. Add enough water to cover vegetables and cook over medium heat until vegetables are just tender. 10 minutes before removing from the heat, in a small skillet, heat the coconut oil to very hot, add mustard seed and swirl until the seeds start to pop, then add fenugreek and curry leaves. continue swirling over heat to keep from burning spices.When fenugreek is starting to turn darker, remove from heat and pour into soup. It will sizzle so be cautious. Stir in well and cook a little while to blend flavors, 5 minutes or so. Serve in bowls and top with chopped cilantro.

*Note: this is a spicy soup, if you are not able to stand much spicy heat, cut the Sambar spice back by half and leave out the red chiles. To keep from losing all your flavor when reducing the "heat", add 1 Tblsp. Garam Masala, or if you have to... 1 healthy tsp. curry powder.

                                                       Sambar Spice 

1/2 cup coriander seeds
1 Tblsp.cumin seeds
2 Tblsp.Channa dal
2 Tblsp. Dhuli Moong Dal (split mung beans)
2 Tblsp. Toor Dal (split pigeon peas)
1 Tbsp.brown mustard seed
1 Tbsp.10-12 black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. fenugreek seeds
25-30 dried red chiles
2-3 Tblsp. turmeric

Dry roast coriander, cumin seed, dals, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns and chiles 3-4 minutes in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, with no oil, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and place in a bowl . Cool completely. Transfer to a bullet blender or spice/coffee grinder, add turmeric and grind to a fine powder. Store labeled in an air tight container out of the light. I use this spice frequently so I make the whole recipe, but you may want to start by cutting the recipe in half.

Garam Masala

This is my favorite home made version of Garam Masala, it comes from The Passionate Vegetarian, which ranks pretty high on my list of favorite cookbooks too!

Makes a generous 1/2 cup

1/4 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoons cumin seed
2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 sticks cinnamon, preferably Ceylon cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg

Combine all the spices, except for the nutmeg, in a dry heavy skillet. Toast over medium, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from skillet immediately to stop cooking process. Grate 1/3 of the whole nutmeg directly on to the other spices. Transfer to a spice grinder and pulverize into a fine powder. Store in a tightly cover jar and keep in a dark place. ** note although I try to eat as much as I can raw, I am not a stickler about condiments and spices, heat brings out the oils in whole spices and makes their essence more accessible. But if you prefer not to use the roasted spices you may just use them in their raw form and blend them without roasting.

You are welcome to re-post my recipes as long as there is a link to this blog post. Please don't copy my recipes without giving me credit.

Blog hop this post is linked to:
Clever Chick Blog Hop 130
Corn-free Every Day

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