Monday, December 2, 2013

Pressure Cooker Vegetable Stock

I usually take my old or extra vegetables that I have taking up room in the fridge and turn them into vegetable stock. I use it in my weekly cooking in lieu of water or chicken stock all the time. It's a really convenient item to have on hand because it adds a great depth of flavor to the mundane water used in rice or beans or lentils or whatever you are cooking.

I use my pressure cooker for this so, admittedly, it's super easy to make, but if you have a couple hours to let it simmer, it's not any work at all to watch it - but really, maybe you should ask for a pressure cooker for the holidays? It's well worth it.

Anyway, this is how I make my stock!

The core of the stock is onion, carrot and celery in a ratio of 2:1:1, meaning always have double the onion to your carrots and celery, which should be the same amount. Then add the extra veggies to the pot. I usually add garlic, some fresh herb stems like parsley or thyme, and mushroom stems if I have them. Then I add some bay leaves and black peppercorns to round it out. 

You can use many vegetables with success here such as parsnips, celery root, fresh ginger, potatoes (only one) or turnips or even corn cobs if you have them! I usually go with the classics though, because more often than not, it's the vegetables I have on hand anyway.

I'd leave out any strong vegetables like beets, horseradish, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers, hot peppers, etc. Some people like tomatoes in their stock, but I don't use them either. You want everything to be fairly level as far as flavor, color, and intensity goes. 

Pressure Cooker Vegetable Stock 

2-4 onions
1-2 celery stalks
1-2 carrots
1-2 leeks
3-5 garlic cloves, smashed
fresh herbs & stems, parsley or thyme (avoid rosemary or basil)
any trimmed mushroom stems
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon MSG (optional, but delicious (and harmless))


Begin by assembling your vegetables. 

I usually just rough chop everything and leave skins and peels and such in tact. I also don't usually roast them beforehand because that's a lot of extra effort for something I'm advertising as "easy". 





Parsley stems

Mushroom stems and extra mushrooms


Bay leaves and peppercorns

Salt and MSG
Fill with water to the MAX line.

Bring to high pressure.

Once you have full pressure, cook for 30 minutes.

Kill the heat and let the pressure drop on its own after 30 minutes and remove the lid.

Strain once through a fine mesh strainer. 

Be sure to squeeze those extra juices out!

I filter it again through a paper towel lined strainer. 

Nasty bits
Now you have a nice clean stock.

But there's a ton of it.

I bring it to a boil and reduce it by half so that all I have to do is dilute with water when I need to use it and it takes up far less room in the fridge.

Just store in containers until ready to use.

You can freeze this with great success.

Overall, like I said, this is a great alternative to water when you'd normally use water. I also find it's a huge saving grace when I run out of chicken stock or something like that. It's just great to have on hand and a easy way to use those older veggies.


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