I was pleased to read in Sarah Flowers' Slow Cook Fast Food that there "really is no recipe for stock - anything goes", as this freed me up to simply experiment. Since The Confident Mom's Weekly Household Planner stipulated that the bottom of the fridge was to be cleaned today, this was an excellent opportunity to "raid the vegetable drawer and pull out any food that is no longer suitable for fresh vegetable dishes", as Flowers suggests. Had I not read Slow Cook Fast Food, I would not have known that anything from the brassica family (cauliflower, broccoli etc) is not suitable for stock-making, as it will make the stock smell; otherwise I would have added red cabbage. Read more about Slow Cook Fast Food here.
How I make vegetable stock:
- Cut up various left-over raw vegetables, peeling first if necessary. I used garlic, butternut squash (peeled), carrots, spring onions and some basil leaves. I then added some rosemary and thyme (dried) from the cupboard, and salt and pepper.
- Place the ingredients in a pan and cover with water. I used warm water, heated by the woodburner. Leave the lid off. Once simmering, turn the heat on your hob down low, replace the lid, and then leave to cook for about two hours. I put my pan, which is cast iron, on the top of the woodburning stove and will leave it there for the rest of the day, as we don't let the fire go out until we go to bed. Obviously it isn't worth lighting the fire especially to make one dish, but we have the stove on from morning to night as our only heating source, so anything that is heated up on the stove-top is essentially heated for "free". Alternatively, use a slow cooker for at least four hours.
- Once it is cooked, strain the stock, keeping the liquid. It can be kept, bottled, in the fridge for up to four days, but I am going to freeze mine - it will keep for about three months in a freezer.