A little thing about me. I don’t care for wasting food. Food is expensive and I hate throwing away what I could cook or eat. When I cut up a chicken, I end up cutting the carcass apart and putting it in a container along with the wing tips and neck in a container and freezing it for stock or broth later. It then dawned on me when I was washing and prepping some kale and was just about to throw away the stalks I thought, “I can save these for later.”
And it didn’t stop there. When I cut up vegetables, the stuff I’d normally discard in the trash, I’ll put it in a container that I keep in the freezer. One day the container got full and I looked in it and I saw those kale stalks along with carrot tips and ends, celery bottoms, onion and garlic bits, dried up ginger parts that you cut off to get to the fresh pieces, apple cores, and the fibrous parts of asparagus, and broccoli stems. A plethora of random parts that probably would have seen the garbage.
I’ve made vegetable broth before and to me, it always was on the light-side in taste. This time I thought about how I can change that around. I took a play from the pho playbook… I heavily charred half a brown onion, some green onions, garlic cloves, and ginger in a pan. I then dumped the charred stuff with the veggie trimmings in a pot and added something that really ties it together, dried kombu. In all honesty, it didn’t even come to mind when conceiving this recipe but I was checking one of my cabinets and I saw it in the back hiding behind some dried noodles. Lightbulb! The kombu adds a bit of brininess and umami flavor to the broth and without it would just taste like boiled vegetables instead of something with a bit more depth.
I’m currently working on a vegetarian pho recipe and it’s going to very close to this, so stay tuned.
Earthy Vegetable Broth (Serves 4) Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 2 hours
Kale: 8 stalks. Washed. Up to you if you want to use the leaves or not.
Carrot: 2x cut in chunks. It doesn’t have to look pretty.
Celery: 2 stalks cut in chunks.
Garlic: 2 cloves
Kombu: One 5″x3″ piece
Water: 6 cups
Salt: 2 tablespoons
Sugar: 1 tablespoon
Peppercorns: About 5-8 of them
Stuff to char:
1/2 Onion: Charred on the cut side.
Green onion: 2 stalks
Garlic: 2 cloves
Ginger: Two 3″ slices
First off, heat your pan on high heat till it’s screeching hot. Charring will take some time and will get a little smokey. When it’s hot, throw in the stuff to char and keep an eye on it.
If you’re running on scraps like I did, then just dump them in a pot. I always have them clean and washed before I store them in the freezer. See how easy that was? Otherwise if you’re starting fresh, gather all your other ingredients and wash and prep them. Now would be a good time to store those scraps for broth/stock in the future.
You can go strictly with my recipe, but give your fridge a once-over and look to see what you could put in this broth. If you got a lone pepper, or a wedge of lettuce or cabbage, or leek, or beet, or daikon, or whatever that is about to go bad, throw it in and give it purpose instead of making it trash. You paid good money for that stuff in your fridge.
When everything is prepped and the vegetables are charred, place everything into the pot and boil on high heat for 15 minutes uncovered. After the 15 minute boil, lower to a simmer and cover for 2 hours. I did mine in a pressure cooker and it only took 20-30 minutes. Pretty rad, right?
When it’s finished, taste and give any additional seasoning. Strain and serve. Since I’m an army of one person, I stored the extra in jars and froze some for later.