Even after I started teaching myself how to cook, I admit that I threw a lot of perfectly good stuff down the garbage disposal. Now that I have no garbage disposal, I have to be more resourceful. Learning to make stock (especially veggie stock) is cheap, easy, and considerably less wasteful than what I was doing before. Why throw veggie trimmings into the trash and then spend money on stock from the store? And did I mention the homemade stuff tastes infinitely better? It’s quite versatile too, as you can use it to make soups, stews, sauces, and even as plain cooking liquid for pasta, potatoes, and rice.
UTENSILS: 1 large stock pot, a mesh strainer, some cheesecloth, and a couple of half-gallon plastic or tupperware freezer safe containers.
Place the cheesecloth in the strainer like so:
*Also, you will need a stove.
INGREDIENTS: This can vary, as I have a big tupperware container where I store my veggie refuse until it gets full. Full container = time to make more stock. But in general, the following works best:
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, rinsed, skins still on.
2 leeks, root end removed and rinsed well and roughly chopped (you can even include the tough green ends, but you will need to slice down the middle lengthwise and rinse well, as leeks yend to be dirty)
3 carrots, stem in removed and rinsed. You do not need to peel them!
3 stalks of celery, rinsed and roughly chopped; include the stems and leaves as well
1 lb (450 grams) mushrooms (white button or crimimi)
3 cloves garlic, smashed whole
1/2 cup (125 mL) of dry white wine
A gallon (3.75 L) of water
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
6 peppercorns, or a few grinds of the pepper grinder
Small bunch of fresh parsely
*Notice there is no salt in this list. Keep it that way. You can use the stock for several different things, each requiring different amounts of seasoning. Do NOT salt it in its generic stock form, or it will become less versatile.
*Heat the olive oil over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, then add everything up to the mushrooms. Soften for about 7-8 minutes, add the garlic, and stir for another 2-3 minutes. The veggies should be softening at this point, and you will be able to smell the garlic.
*Splash in the wine and scrape up any bits at the bottom of the pan.
*Add the water, bay leaves, thyme, and pepper. You can tie the herbs into a “bouquet garni” if you want, but I usually don’t bother since I am going to strain it all anyway. So throwing it all in willy- nilly is perfectly acceptable.
*Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low. Cover with just a tiny gap to let some steam escape, then simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
*Uncover, add the parsley, and simmer for another 20-25 minutes.
*Remove from heat and cool down to room temperature; this usually takes about an hour.
*Skim off any fat at the top, strain into containers, and either refrigerate or freeze.
That’s all there is to it. So stop wasting money on nasty store-bought stock!