Are you excited about where the blog is headed after yesterday’s post?!
I thought that homemade stock would be a fantastic way to begin my new culinary adventures, since I’ve only ever experienced boullion or the stock that comes in that rectangular container in the soup aisle.
Now, I am not a food snob.
I understand that a) they are more affordable (hello broke unemployed college graduate) and b) they are uber convenient, but I had to see what all the fuss was about.
Since stock/broth happens to be a major part of many recipes I find in my cookbooks and on food blogs, I also thought it’d be great to have as I build upon these skills and create new recipes.
Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to our all-star cast for this recipe:
Don’t you love fresh vegetables? I adore all the different colors, and it definitely brightened my mood that most of these were well-priced at the Stop&Shop up the road.
Can you believe that Swiss Chard was only $2?!
Now I am ready to dive into this whole homemade stock idea, but I thought it’d be neat to compare two methods and see which one I liked best in terms of
- Taste (duh)
So today we are creating vegetable stock in my slow cooker. Slow cookers are fabulous – they are cheap, they work wonders on tough pieces of meat, and they do not turn your kitchen into a sauna when, say, NJ feels like having an intense heat wave for a whole week.
Who wants to turn the oven on in that hot mess?
So it’s pretty simple (in theory): just chop all your vegetables, and dump them along with a few other spices, water etc into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8ish hours and, according to this cookbook:
We should see 8 cups of veggie stock by the end of the day.
So I chopped, and minced, and added everything to the insert of my slow-cooker. Then I waited.
And waited some more.
It tastes absolutely out of this world. Seriously – bouillon ain’t got nothin’ on this stuff.
I can’t believe I just wrote that. Please don’t think I actually speak that way – the stock did it to me.
It was just so good – I couldn’t help myself.
The only problem – the cookbook lied.
Evil Cookbook : why would you present me with this flavorful, rich stock and tell me it makes 8 cups?
I only have 3 1/2 cups to show for it. 🙁
So, in that aspect, this was sort of expensive to prepare. Bouillon might be salt with flavorings but you receive 30 cups for a $9 container. This recipe cost me that same $9 but I have less than 1/3 of what the bouillon container prepares.
Is it inifintely more appetizing than pre-made stock? Without a doubt.
But is it worth it? I think that depends on what you’re going to do with it.
Are you making a main-course soup or stew (or risotto) where stock is a central component?
Do you like the idea of throwing everything in the slow cooker and then just going about your business while it cooks?
If so, then yes I think it absolutely is worth it. But if you just need a cup here or there, this may not be economically feasible for you.
That’s totally fine.
BUT I plan on testing out another stock option (I feel like there’s a finance joke in there somewhere) brought to us by Mr. Mark Bittman in my How to Cook Everything.
It’s a much more classic recipe for chicken stock, where one needs to keep an eye on it while it simmers over the stove, but it also claims to make a great deal of it, which means it could be more worth my time than this slow-cooker method.
We will see!
Homemade Vegetable Stock (Slow Cooker Method)
Recipe Source – Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 carrots, cut into chunks
- 4 parsnips, cut into chunks
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 bunch (approx 3 cups chopped) swiss chard
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- Put everything (and I mean everything!) into the insert of a 5 to 7 quart slow cooker and gently stir to combine. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 9 hours.
- Pour vegetable stock through a fine-meshed sieve set over a large bowl. If you desire, remove some of the larger chunks of vegetables first and discard them prior to pouring. Skim off any fat that accumulates.
- In refrigerator, stock will keep for up to five days. In the freezer this will stay fresh up to 6 months.
All Photos, Recipes (Unless Otherwise Specified) And Writing Copyright © 2013 Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain