Friday, July 19, 2013

Emily's Veggie Stock

We used to buy Costco's rotisserie chickens all the time. They tasted great, were incredibly easy to use for any dinner, and would last all week for delicious sandwiches. I also felt better about using the whole chicken since most people only buy chicken breasts, and this encourages the poultry industry to use growth hormones that make the chickens' breast grow so big they can't even walk because of the weight. They keep mostly keep them in dark, crowded and dirty conditions, and have to use anti-biotics to keep them from getting sick. If you would like to know more about this, watch the movie, FOOD INC. I don't want to eat chicken like that, and I believe in treating animals kindly and using the whole animal if you're going to eat it at all.

When my dutiful husband would bravely pull all the costco chicken meat off the bones (Seriously, I think this is one of the grossest jobs ever! I am in awe of my mom doing this to the turkey every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yuck! I have done it before (with gloves on - truly that is the only way), but I never want to do it again. So props to all those brave and helpful people who do their best not to waste any meat!) As I was saying, after all that was left was the chicken carcass, I would throw it in a huge stock pot with a bunch of water, onions, garlic, herbs and peppercorns and make a delicious and inexpensive chicken stock. It was so easy, and that's what I call using the whole chicken! So if you use chicken stock, try making your own. 

But now that I don't usually eat meat, and because there is a lot of fat in chicken stock, and because vegetable stock from the store costs about a million dollars! Ok, maybe not a million, but a whole lot! I like to make my own veggie stock to use for sauteeing, cooking grains or beans(rice, quinoa, lentils etc), and for soups and stews of course. No batch is really ever the same, depending on what I have on hand. So with whatever you have in your kitchen, give it a try!
 Emily's Veggie Stock

- 3 gallons/12 quarts cold water
- 4 large onions - quartered
- 8 stalks celery - halved
- 3 bulbs garlic - halved
- 10 large carrots - halved
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 1 1/2 TB black pepper corns
- 1 TB kosher salt
- 1 1/2 TB dried oregano 
- 1/2 TB dried dill
- 1 TB dried parsley
- 1/2 TB dried rosemary
- 1/2 TB dried thyme
- 1/2 TB dried basil
- 4 bay leaves
1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer for 3-8 hours, or over night. Longer simmering = more flavor.

2. Let cool, then using a mesh colander with a long handle, fish out all the veggie remains and discard, or strain all the stock into a large bowl to get the veggie remains out.

3. Store in the fridge up to a week, or freeze up to 3 months, or can and store up to 1 year.

* Freeze some veggie stock in a few ice cube trays. Then pull a veggie stock cube or two out to use for sauteeing instead of using oil! It will bring great flavor to your dish, and no fat or oil. And if you watch it, and add a cube when it starts evaporating, it won't burn or stick to the pan. I always thought you had to use oil to sautee, but you really don't!

- None of these ingredient quantities need to be exact. You can just use whatever you have. You can add and cut out and substitute ingredients as needed.

Fresh herbs are great if you have any available. They are much easier to strain out of the stock. You will need 3 times the amount of fresh herbs to equal the amount of dry herbs because dry herbs are more potent and concentrated.

- Some people put potato peelings in their stock. I tried this once and thought it gave it kind of a dirt flavor... I wouldn't recommend it.

- You can leave the peel on or off the garlic and onions. If using non-organic, I'd take it off.

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