No More Boring Rice

Several years ago, I happened on a site that told you how to make your own vegetable stock. I was intrigued. Not only is it a way to use the pieces and parts of vegetables you just cut off and either compost or throw away, but it turns out it is the best way to add flavor when cooking rice or pasta. I won’t lie to you, the house doesn’t always smell the best while it is actually being made, but I assure you it is worth it.

The recipe literally changes every time based on the vegetables you used in your cooking that month. Today I’m cooking up the latest incarnation of the Kozi Veggie Stock. Ingredients include: onion scraps, broccoli stalks, carrot shavings, zucchini ends, bell pepper insides/ends, celery tips/white parts of the stalks, tomato ends/insides, and the tips of green beans.

All you need to do to save the vegetable pieces is toss them in a freezer-safe plastic tub with lid (or several if, like me, you use smaller tubs). I make stock when I need some freezer space!

Some months there are more zucchini and tomato pieces, some months more pepper and onion – truthfully it depends on if we are eating more Mexican or Italian fare that month! It is often fairly in line with whatever vegetables are seasonal.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Kozi Veggie Stock. I find it usually makes about 10 cups, give or take.

5 quart saucepan
Enough frozen vegetable bits and pieces to fill the saucepan 1/2-2/3 full
Water (I use filtered from the fridge) to just cover the vegetables
Any fresh or dried herbs/seasonings you like – optional  (black pepper, rosemary, thyme, etc. – whatever you prefer)

Bring the mixture to a slight boil then reduce the heat to just a simmer. Every 30-45 minutes use a slotted spoon to push the vegetables down, to help extract their veggie goodness. Simmer for 2-3 hours, depending on your patience and available time. I find this is a good thing to make while you’re doing chores around the house as it doesn’t need to be constantly monitored.

After reading all this, you’re probably asking yourself what you can use your stock for. Here’s a list of some of my favorite uses:

  • 50/50 mix of stock to water to cook pasta in
  • In place of water when cooking rice
  • Use it when you need a little extra liquid when sauteeing vegetables in a pan
  • Or use it when you need more moisture when pan-cooking meat

I’d love to read your incarnations below. How do you use it?

 


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