The first secret to preparing tasty meals the whole fam will enjoy is to use the freshest quality ingredients and keep it simple. Add generous amounts of love (and butter) and you’ve got happy eaters!
Secret #2 is Vegetable Broth. Or chicken broth, beef broth, or turkey broth.
When you cook any grain; when you make soups; when braising or when roasting – really any time liquid is called for, broth is the best. It brings a dimension of flavor that may surprise you.
And even better, it’s a way to make use of things that would otherwise head straight for the compost pile. Those fibrous green tops to leeks area a great example – don’t toss ’em away, they are awesome in broth!
You can, of course, use whole vegetables – even roast ’em up first – but I am thrifty and use just the scraps for my broth-making. You may need to keep a container on your counter or in your fridge to allow your scraps to accumulate. I generally do a batch of broth every week to two weeks throughout the fall-winter-spring seasons.
Another advantage to the broth ( I could go on and on – I really love broth! ) is it provides a quick meal when you need something warm and nourishing and fast: Just chop a little veg, add to a pot with the broth, bring to the boil and simmer till tender. Flavor as you like ( miso is great) and you’re eating!
You can use almost anything for broth. Adding animal bones, fats, skins, or organs will bring even greater depth and nutrition to your broth.
I avoid using anyone in the brassica family because I don’t like the sulfurous aromas. I don’t add salt, as I prefer to add salt to my dishes at the end of cooking. And if all you have is garlic, you can still make a tasty broth!
For a reliable, flavorful broth you will need:
One large pot
skins of onions
skins of garlic
tops and ends of carrot and/or parsnip
ends and tops of celery
All you need do is throw all your bits and pieces in the pot, fill with cold water and fire it up. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat so the pot simmers. I usually let it simmer about 2 hours, until the stock has reduced and tastes great!
Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into glass jars and there you have it! Deliciousness in a jar. These will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. You can freeze it or even pressure-can if you are feeling ambitious.