Liza Baker’s Beans & Greens Soup
Makes approximately 1 quart
Basic Vegetable Stock:
Using a vegetable stock in place of water adds a boost of flavor to soups, stews, and braises. It can be made using a very few basic ingredients and takes much less time than chicken or beef stock. This recipe can easily be doubled (or even tripled if you have a big pot).
- 1T olive oil or butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1⁄2 cup chopped carrots
- 1⁄2 cup chopped celery
- 5 cups of water
- 1 bayleaf
- 5 peppercorns
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 5 parsley stems (don’t use the leaves – save them for garnishing something else!)
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pot (large enough to hold the vegetables in a thin layer on the bottom) on medium-high, then add the oil or butter. The oil should just start to shimmer, and the butter should just melt but not turn brown.
- Add the vegetables and sauté them until they caramelize (turn golden brown). If you’re wondering whether they’re brown enough, that means you need to wait longer – they should be golden all over, not just around the edges.
- Add the water, bayleaf, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, and parsley stems, and turn the heat up to high, stirring to scrape up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so that the liquid is barely simmering.
- Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the stock come to room temperature, or speed the process up by placing the pot into a sink full of cold water and stirring occasionally.
- Strain the stock in to a bowl, pressing the juices out of the vegetables. It is now ready to use or store.
- For an extra special touch, you can deglaze the pot with1⁄4c white wine after the vegetables brown – add the wine to the pot, scrape the browned bits off the bottom, and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, then continue with the addition of mushrooms below.
- You can add mushrooms or mushroom stems to the vegetables in this step. Mushrooms contain a natural (gluten-free) form of the flavor enhancer MSG, and they add an earthy note to the stock.
- Potato peels add body to the stock, but they will also make it a bit cloudy – good for use in a thick soup, not so much for a clear vegetable soup.
- Upcycled stock: This is a great way to use up vegetable peelings and odds and ends, making sure you get the most bang for your buck – it’s a basic Fl!p Your K!tchen trick. Many recipes start with chopping onions, celery, and carrots – save the outer layers of the onions (and even a few skins for added color!), the ends of the carrots and celery stalks, and the peels from the carrots in a gallon-sized bag or a tightly-covered container in the freezer –when it’s full, it’s time to make stock!
- After cooling to room temperature, the stock will last up to a week in the refrigerator–keep in tightly covered glass jars or containers.
- The stock will last up to 6 months in the freezer–pour into glass jars, leaving some room at the top for expansion. After the stock is room temperature, chill overnight in the refrigerator, then freeze for up to 6 months. Take a jar out of the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using – don’t try to thaw a glass jar by running it under hot water, or it may crack.
Caramelize – to brown the natural sugars in a food by cooking on a relatively high heat with no liquid. This brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables – make sure you don’t over brown them, as this will make them bitter when the sugars burn.
Deglaze – to add liquid (often wine) to a pot in which food has been seared or caramelized. This will allow you to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot and adds another layer of flavor.
Vegetable “Stock” is technically a misnomer, as stock is made with bones; this is officially a “broth,” but in many instances, the two words have become interchangeable.
Let us know how you like this soup and enjoy Liza’s many other recipes on her Simply:Health Coaching site.
© Elizabeth A. Baker, LLC