Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vegetable Stock, à la Jacques Pépin

To say that we are big fans of Jacques Pépin is quite an understatement. I love him, but my husband idolizes him, and it is easy to see why. Jacques Pépin is a culinary genius. He is, above all, a great teacher. His cooking is simple and delicious. I can say so because my husband has made pretty much every single dish from Fast Food My Way and More Fast Food My Way. Our copies are so well-loved that they are falling apart. We have also seen pretty much all of his TV series. My favorite is Cooking Techniques. It was a thing of beauty to see him create a teddy bear from a lemon and some peppercorns, or decorate a paté with scallions, carrots and a paring knife. He is a true artist.

As I have seen so many of his programs, I can't remember exactly where I watched him make vegetable stock using kitchen scraps. This method is true Pépin: simple, inexpensive, and delicious.

Open the top of an empty half-gallon carton of milk or juice, and rinse well

Any time you prepare dinner, save the vegetable scraps: onion tops, tough mushroom stems, carrot peels, pepper cores... The possibilities are endless

Keep the carton in the freezer till it comes full. Once full, get ready to make the stock

It may be hard to get a solid brick of frozen vegetables out of the carton. It is OK to tear it apart (or so I tell myself)

Pour enough water to cover the vegetables. Season generously with salt and pepper

Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let it simmer for 30 minutes or so

You will end up with the best vegetable stock you have ever tasted.

When done, strain it and use or freeze.

This is ridiculously simple and so tasty. This stock will be a terrific base for your soups, and useful in any recipe that calls for some broth.

You can also add chicken bones to the stock, or that turkey carcass you haphazardly threw in the freezer just last week. Before you do so, I recommend you roast the bones in the oven, because doesn't everything taste better roasted?


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