My pal Lee recently posted about making her own vegetable stock. I immediately started storing veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer.
In just a few days my bag was stuffed with carrot ends; onion scraps and peel; cucumber and zucchini peel and pieces leftover after spiralizing them; half an orange bell pepper that was ready to turn; an entire jalapeno also ready to turn; the big stem from a bunch of broccoli + a few broccoli florets; kale stems and a few leftover leaves.
I tossed all of the frozen veggies into the crock pot, with a little olive oil. I added half an onion, chopped; 3 cloves of garlic, diced; 4 sprigs of dry thyme (that I dehydrated); iodized sea salt; black pepper corns; two bay leaves.
I poured filtered water over the veggies, until they were just covered, and turned the crock pot to low. After a few hours I pulled out the jalapeno and sliced it up and tossed it back in, seeds and all.
There was a lot of chatter on my Facebook page with suggestions and ideas about making vegetable stock and I’m so glad! I had planned to let the stock simmer for eight hours but then read several warnings about using cabbage family (broccoli) veggies in a stock–some warned that it could be bitter and/or become the overpowering flavor–so I stopped cooking the stock at six hours.
I poured the stock and veggies into a large bowl through a cheese cloth. I squeezed the excess broth out of the veggies through the cloth and tossed the veggies (you can compost them).
Look at that colorful stock! I gallon bag of frozen vegetables = 8 cups of delicious vegetable stock!
It was incredibly flavorful and it definitely had a kick from the jalapeno. Perfect for a chili. I started dreaming up a recipe for my first chili made out of my very own homemade vegetable stock. Simultaneously I was reading blogs and the January Iron Chef Challenge blog post from Vegan MoFo popped up in my reader. This month’s secret ingredient: squash! So I added squash to the chili recipe I was creating.
Ingredients (Make 6 cups)
- 1 T avocado oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup green pepper, diced
- 3 cups butternut squash, diced (into 1/2 inch cubes)
- 1.5 t cumin
- 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2.5 – 3 cups vegetable stock/broth
- 3 handfuls kale (I used mixed kale), cut into bite size pieces
- Fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat avocado in an uncovered pressure cooker.
- Add onion, garlic and green pepper and saute for a few minutes.
- Add squash and cumin, stir and saute for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Stir in lentils and tomatoes.
- Add vegetable stock, enough to cover everything, then a bit more.
- Toss kale into the pressure cooker, lock the lid in place and bring to pressure.
- Cook at pressure for 8 – 10 minutes.
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let pressure release naturally.
- Once pressure is released, remove the pressure cooker lid, away from you.
- Return the uncovered pressure cooker back to heat, on simmer.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the chili (I used the juice of half a lemon), stir and simmer for a few minutes.
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
I love this chili! I always finish up my soups and stews in the pressure cooker with lemon or lime juice. I often find that with that fresh acidity, I don’t need much salt. That was the case with this chili, most likely because of the added salt to the vegetable stock. Speaking of that, here are a few recipe notes:
- Note that the only added spice I used was cumin. Remember, my vegetable stock has some real zip to it. If you’re using store-bought stock/broth, and or a homemade without jalapeno, you’ll want to add some zip to your chili–consider chili powder, Sriracha or jalapeno.
- I lightly salted my homemade vegetable stock so I did not need to add much salt. Your mileage may vary.
- I used black peppercorns in the homemade vegetable stock so I did not need to add much ground black pepper.
- I used bay leaf in my stock — if you’re using store-bought broth/stock, add one or two leaves to the chili.
I am so glad that I have discovered how easy it is to make my own vegetable stock! Sure it’s easy to pick up prepared broth at the store, but most of what I tossed into the crock pot would have been tossed into the trash. That’s reason enough to make my own stock. No more waste!
Do you make your own vegetable stock/broth? Share your recipe / links!