Anyway, rather than letting the leftover vegetables go bad in the fridge (as typically happens), I decided to make a vegetable stock. I used a recipe for vegetable stock on the food network website - although not to the letter. I just used what I had.
My vegetable stock has
- 2 parsnips
- 4 carrots
- 1/2 bunch of celery that was starting to wilt
- 1/2 onion from the fridge plus a whole onion from the pantry
- 1/2 head garlic separated into cloves and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 package of snow peas
- Some string beans I bought the other day to have with dinner and forgot to cook
- 3/4 bunch of arugula
- a small red bell pepper from my garden
- A dozen (or so) black pepper corns
- A good sized handful of fresh herbs from the garden
- bay leaves
- thyme (2 types)
Just dump everything into a big pot, bring it to a boil, then simmer for several hours. Turn off the heat, let it cool, strain and package into freezer containers and freeze.
I'll be using 1 cup and 2 cup containers. But, I'll have to figure out some way to distinguish them from the chicken stock containers we made a month or so ago. Hmmm, this makes me want to find a butcher to see if I can get some beef bones to make a good hearty beef stock. It's hard to find a real butcher these days since most grocery stores have gone to pre-packaged meat.
You may notice that there is no salt. The original food network recipe didn't call for salt either. Commercial stocks and broths are often loaded with salt - which is a good reason for making your own. We don't use a lot of salt in our home. I often put in 1/2 the amount of salt (or less) a recipe calls for, except for certain recipes, like baked goods, where the salt is essential to the chemical reaction.
A vegetable stock can be substituted in many recipes that call for chicken stock. I wouldn't substitute vegetable stock in something like chicken and dumplings; but, a acorn squash/pumpkin soup I made the other day called for chicken stock - and a vegetable stock would have worked just as well, perhaps even better (it wasn't as delicious as I wanted it to be - which is why the recipe isn't posted here).