Friday, September 17, 2010

A Very Excellent Vegetable Broth

The elitist taco has taken a back seat these past few weeks as I get re-accustomed to the school year, teaching two classes and actually working on my dissertation.  While I'm still cooking (enchiladas de mole and posole this week!), not many things are that new or postable.  But the posole has been a real discovery.  I'll be posting that in a couple of days.

Officially, both the elitist taco and its author are now 100% vegetarian.  The blog was mostly vegetarian already, but now it is for sure.  It's nice to give it an identity and I'm happy to make my own vegetarianism official.  I've been headed this direction for awhile and I'm feeling great about it.  There are a variety of reasons, but none really matter much to the blog.  What matters now, is how to creatively adapt recipes and still have a great flavor.  I might miss late night hamburgers from Rally's or bacon but truthfully, it was the homemade chicken broth that I had gotten used to that I was saddest about.  A good chicken broth has so many great uses.  When I came across Bobby Flay's method of reducing a chicken broth for an hour or so after it was already done, something that intensified the flavors, I was sold.  We've been making our own vegetable broths for a while now, but for the most part they're clear and have little in the way of body.  So I set out to make a great vegetable broth that could be used in a soup like posole, which really depends on a good broth.  In an effort to give the broth some depth of flavor, I threw in a couple of potatoes and a few mushrooms.  For a final step I took a boiled potato, threw it into the blender with some of the stock and blended it until smooth.  The texture it added to the broth was awesome and it really made a difference. 
So here's the recipe.

3-4 stalks of celery, washed
2-3 carrots, scrubbed (not peeled), split down the middle
2 potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
4 garlic cloves, smashed (skins left on)
1 large onion, quartered (skins left on)
1 poblano chile, halved and seeded
white button mushrooms (small box - washed and sliced)

Of course, a vegetable broth can have pretty much anything you have on hand.  Often we'll keep the tough spine from kale and throw that in.  Some nice additions are black peppercorns, fresh thyme, fresh cilantro etc. 

Place all the vegetables into a large soup pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and turn to medium low, cooking uncovered for an hour.  Remove vegetables and let cool (save some potato for later).

When I was ready to use the stock, I heated it up on the stove, while I combined some broth with a few potato pieces in the blender.  Once that was reintroduced into the broth, I added salt to taste and... there you go.  For a little extra flavor, I added 2 cups of 'chicken broth' (Better than bouillon brand, vegetarian) that I mixed up. 

This is my new go-to broth.  Even before I introduced chile for the posole base, it had a nice, complex flavor.  I'm sure it'll be a little different every time I make it, but I think the potato will make constant appearances.  

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