Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Vegan-Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu: update with stock recipe

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?

Growing up, I always knew exactly what would be on the table. Everyone was assigned to bring their "usual." There were always hits and misses, both with the food and the level of drama, but everyone ate their fill and was, overall, thankful for spending another year together.

As an adult, traditions and dietary needs have changed. It seems that there's always a vegetarian at the table now and many people want to lighten up the classics. In this spirit, I am reposting last year's Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu which gives some vegetarian main-course options - from stuffed acorn squash to info on widely available faux turkey products - as well as a new take on some of the classics but without the heavy cream sauces, marshmallows and grease. There's also a different recipe for Acorn Squash Stuffed with White Beans and Kale in another post earlier in the month. The sides from the Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu are guaranteed delicious! For your omnivores, now is probably not the time to sub out the turkey or turkey gravy (there will be real and faux turkey at our house this Thanksgiving), but everything else can can be made plant-based and no one will feel like anything is less delicious or decadent than the "usuals."

This year, I will be making some of these items and experimenting with some new recipes...check back after Thanksgiving for the results of those experiments!

In my busy preparation, I decided to try out a new, intriguing vegetable stock recipe. In all honesty, it has been years since I took the time to make vegetable stock. After doing so last night, I am kicking myself for wasted years! The result is a super easy, delicious broth that would be great alone and will definitely elevate the taste of my stuffing, gravy and other dishes needing stock this Thanksgiving. I also made plenty of extra to use in soups and stews throughout the cold months as well.

Pros of homemade stock (versus store-bought):
  • Sodium-free
  • Taste is SO good - no store-bought comparison is available!
  • Less food waste (see below)
  • Can be made for nearly free!
Cons of homemade stock (versus store-bought):
  • Takes planning
  • Requires freezer space for storage

The reason that homemade stock can both reduce food waste and be nearly free is that you can keep a container in your freezer where you put all of your carrot, celery, onion, mushroom, garlic, parsley, thyme, eggplant, sweet pepper, tomato, green and green bean scraps into the container. Once you have enough to make stock you can just dump the contents into a pan, cover with water to 1-inch above the ingredients, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes. To make a good stock great, add some or all of the aromatics shown in the recipe below to your vegetable scraps. Strain out the vegetable scraps, and use the stock in a recipe or portion the stock into containers and freeze for later use. That's it!

Warning: do NOT put broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, starchy vegetables, brussels sprouts, beets, artichokes, asparagus, turnips, rutabagas or corn in stock. These vegetable will either give a strong, "off" taste to the stock or make it very cloudy.

If you want to try a specific recipe for my favorite stock, here you go:

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Ingredients:
1 medium onion, quartered (no need to remove the skin)
1 large carrot, chopped roughly into 1-inch pieces
The leafy end of a bunch of celery (approximately the top 1/4 of the bunch), roughly chopped
Greens of 3 leeks, washed well (the white parts are used in most recipes, use them for something fancier than stock)
3 cloves garlic, smashed (no need to remove the peel)
3/4-1 ounce mixed dried mushrooms (I used a $1.99 package from Trader Joe's) or 3-4 ounces shiitake mushroom stems (the inedible parts of the mushroom) or other fresh mushroom scraps
1 (4-inch) piece of kombu or kelp, optional (gives body to the stock)

Aromatic Ingredients:
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
1 small handful of parsley stems (or 6 springs of parsely)
1-1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds or greens from 1 small bulb of fennel (aka. anise)
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

1. Put all ingredients in a large stock pot (at least 1-1/2 gallons). Add water to cover by 1 to 1-1/2 inches.
2. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Turn heat down until stock is at barely a simmer and cooking for 40 minutes.
3. Strain out vegetables and either use stock or portion into containers and freeze for later use.

Yield: 3+ quarts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.