As you may or may not know, January is known in some circles these days as “Veganuary” – a month when carnivores the world over attempt to give up meat for thirty-one long days. We already keep a mostly vegan household here so it’s not much of a stretch, but I thought I’d share a recipe for anyone who might already be immersed in Veganuary, or who would like to give it a shot.
I would love to say that these are my personal inventions, but I’m not there yet – I am still fully reliant on the brilliance of others for my kitchen adventures. In the following, I use this vegetable broth recipe by the Minimalist Baker, followed by a potato leek soup recipe in the cookbook Eat Like You Give a F*ck, from Thug Kitchen.
So, we start with the broth. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, and about 60% of it has been soups. The rest has been bread, with the occasional dessert sprinkled in there. What I have discovered is that soup made from homemade broth has a depth of flavor that puts any bouillon cube to shame, and the boxed or canned broth isn’t much better. This takes a little bit of time, but veggie broth is easy to freeze and keeps for months. I try to do up a batch every couple of weekends, and freeze it in 2- or 4-cup portions in Mason jars. This broth by the Minimalist Baker is definitely the most flavorful vegan broth I’ve found.
VEGETABLE BROTH RECIPE
1 T avocado or coconut oil
1 onion, skins and all, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, skins and all, roughly chopped
4 carrots, unpeeled, roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
9 – 10 cups water
1 cup collard greens, including stems, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 T dry rosemary
1 T dry thyme
2 bay leaves
4 T nutritional yeast
5 T tomato paste
1 t salt
1 t pepper
Heat oil in large stock pot. Once shining, add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and 1/2 t of the salt. Let the veggies sweat for 5 – 6 minutes, until soft.
Add water, collards, parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, the rest of the salt, and the pepper. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add nutritional yeast and tomato paste and lower heat to medium-low. Let the mix simmer on the stove for at least an hour.
After an hour or so, let the broth cool and then strain out the veggies. Freeze portions in Mason jars with at least an inch of head space and the top slightly loose to compensate for expansion.
1 T olive oil
1 lb golden potatoes, cubed and with skins on
3 medium-sized leeks, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 t salt + more to taste
1 t pepper + more to taste
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 t apple cider vinegar
Parsley for garnish
In a Dutch oven, heat oil until shimmering. Add leeks and let them sweat until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes and garlic. Mix so that they have an even coating of the leeks and oil, then add broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until potatoes are softened.
When the potatoes are soft, use immersion blender or (carefully) put mix in blender. Blend until you have the consistency you’re looking for – I prefer a more rustic mix, so tend to leave it a little bit chunky.
Return mix to Dutch oven (if you removed it to blender). Add scallions, and 1/2 to 1 t of apple cider vinegar, to taste.
Garnish with parsley and serve with bread. I made a homemade rosemary loaf yesterday that went beautifully with this.
So, that’s dinner. This particular recipe is admittedly short on protein, but if you’re concerned you could add silken tofu to the mix and it would make for an even creamier consistency, and would certainly up the protein quotient a bunch. If you’re doing that, just pay attention to your seasonings and adjust accordingly to make sure the tofu doesn’t make things bland.
Let me know if you do decide to give this recipe a try – I would love to hear how it turned out!
Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Erin Solomon Mysteries and the Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. To learn more, visit http://www.jenblood.com.
Jen: I grew up in a household that wasted nothing. Any bit of veggie that wasn’t fit to serve including tops, stems, leaves, and tails you wouldn’t eat anyway was tossed in a bag kept in the freezer. Meat bones and bits went the same way including gnawed chicken or pork bones. All veggie water not used for gravy or thinning was poured into containers and frozen as well. When there was enough of everything to fill her stock pot or she needed the freezer space! Mum would thaw the juices and dump in all the veggie and meat bits. This would cook on the back of the stove until she felt every last ounce of flavor had been extracted. She then strained the stock picking off any meat bits still recognizable and tossing them back in.
As you have found with this recipe, it makes the best soup EVER! Feel free to start your own soup bag. Carrot tops, root ends, bean caps, onion skins, wilted greens and thick stems, radish tips, mushy tomato…anything goes in the bag. Mum always felt that to pour veggie water down the drain was a horrible waste so save water from the steamer and anything you boil. Dabs of saute or meat juice from the bottom of the pan were saved for extra flavor and added to the finished stock.
Thanks for passing this along. I hope everyone who reads it will give it a try. There is no quick trick to superior stock.
Thanks, Julianne! I actually have a couple of scrap bags in my freezer – one for soups and broths, another with apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar. I just figured for many people, this would be the recipe they’d be more likely to try (and it definitely photographs better than my mushy scrap bag!) 🙂 There are so many practices from my grandparents’ day that I draw from now, and I’m so pleased to hear that others feel the same way – thank you for letting others know about this!