Sunday, February 19, 2012

Liquefied Food, Day 1 - Veggie Stock & Creamed Veggie Soup (Recipe)

Since the foods around my house have to fit through a tiny straw these days, I decided to cook up a batch of homemade stock to use while blenderizing everything. Bart has to be on liquids-only for the next 10 days or so, and pretty much everything savory gets thinned with the stuff. (Sweets and dairy get thinned with soymilk). Sometimes, being around a woman in a crazy hormone-induced mania has its perks. One of those is awesome home-cooked meals. Just be sure and tell her it tastes fantastic or she'll cry.

Since I'm doing some juicing as well, I had a mess of produce on hand yesterday, you don't need all of this stuff. Just the basics (denoted with asterisks) will yield a tasty broth that will be better than that canned swill, I promise. Any other vegetables you want to add will enhance the stock. My favorites that aren't listed here are parsnips, broccoli and kale.. even canned tomatoes. Lets begin with my shopping list:

2 medium onions* - I normally leave these out, but need this to be as tasty as possible
8 small carrots*
1 bunch celery*
1 bulb fennel
1 large bell pepper
2-inch piece of ginger
1 bulb of garlic (you'll need 4 cloves)
2 jalapenos (for a mild spice level, adjust if necessary)
1 bunch parsley
Bay leaves

7-8 quart stock pot

*These vegetables make up a traditional mirepoix, which is the french base for most dishes involving vegetables. All three are typically seasoned and sweated in oil until the onion is translucent to begin a dish.
Since I decided to make a soup out of the veggies I used to make this stock, I peeled the onions and carrots, and diced them with the bell pepper, jalapeno and fennel.

If you're not going to continue on with the soup recipe, roughly chop the veggies - just enough to break them up and allow their flavors to permeate the stock. 2-inch sections should be small enough. In fact, I used the scraps and peelings from my batch to create a second stock in another pan.

When all of those are chopped, heat two tablespoons olive or canola oil in a stock pot on medium high heat. When the oil shimmers in the bottom of the pan, add all the vegetables but the ginger and garlic.

Add 1 tsp salt, and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic and ginger, and continue cooking for 2 min. Pour in 1 gallon of water and add 2-3 bay leaves and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Turn the heat up to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes.

When your stock is finished cooking, season with 1/4 cup Tamari to taste. Strain the stock through a colander or sieve to remove the solid vegetables. If you're continuing on to the next recipe, reserve 1-1/2 cups of the cooked veggies. Otherwise, discard them.

Cool your veggie stock before storing. Large volumes of liquids like soups and stocks take a long time to cool  if left in a large pot with little surface area and are the favorite stomping grounds of nasty bacteria like salmonella and shigella. To keep your stock safe, cool it rapidly by dividing it into several containers and putting it in the fridge asap. I normally don't keep meat or milk in my fridge, but if you do, turn down your fridge temperature before cooking to prepare for the hot soup raising the temp and potentially other foods.

See this article for tips on cooling soup safely.

Once cooled, the stock can be transferred to ice cube trays for easy use, frozen flat in freezer bags for easy storage, or sealed and stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Use it for soups, rice, mashed potatoes, braising, and my new favorite - thinning foods out in the blender.

Stock prepared, I moved on to last night's dinner:

Creamed Veggie Soup
Your jaw doesn't have to be wired shut to like it :)

1-1/2 cups cooked veggies from stock (if you're making from scratch, use 1/2 cup each: onion, carrot and celery and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes before adding to this recipe)
1/2 cup dried red lentils
1/2 cup dried split-peas
1/2 cup pearled barley (you could also use orzo or other small pasta)
4-1/2 cups homemade veggie stock
Simmer together in a large saucepan for 30 minutes until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer the hot mixture to the blender. (I made a half-batch)

Remove the center of the lid to vent steam and hold a kitchen towel over the opening. Pulse a few times until incorporated, then puree for 2 minutes. Serves 4.

If you want, add 1 cup of heavy cream (substitute skim milk or fat-free yogurt if you're watching your figure) after blending and return to the pan to heat. Be careful not to boil the soup again or you'll scorch the milk.

Happy cooking and eating, and enjoy the use of your teeth!

No comments:

Post a Comment