We spend so much time working on being super creatives and ingenious in the kitchen, giving tremendous attention to trends, sexy ingredients, and haute techniques. It’s wonderful! We all enjoy glorious outcomes when our brains are non-stop in the kitchen. But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s great and quite necessary to go back to the simple things. To a slower, more classical way of producing greatness. Everything tried and true is a result of practice, modifications, alterations, tweaks and more practice. Most times, those classic methods and techniques have been set in ancient stone, in complete absent need of our creativity.
Stock is one of those basic cooking needs everyone should know how to make. It’s the wet base for soups, stews, chilis, beans, roasts, etc.. You name it and stock can find its way into the dish. But if you’re into cooking and learning from scratch, making your own vegetable, beef, or chicken stock is a great place to start. It’s super simple and quite enjoyable. Unlike most foods to which I default to the pressure cooker, stocks are the one thing I love making in slow motion… in one of my beautiful cast iron pots.
And so while making a classic stock is quite easy there’s always a derivative trick or two.
Yes, I just deviated! If you’re anything like me and effectively multi-purposeful or just can’t help your creative genius, there are a few things you can do with stock, or in this case, a stock purée.
I came up with this vegetable stock purée idea a long while ago while toying with remnant vegetables from a fresh stock I was commissioned to make. This last time, just recently, I was in the thick of stocks but didn’t want to make soup with the veggies. I need to use them as one of my cooking principles is to use everything. I’m not for being wasteful. Ever. Let nothing go to waste. I had a market bag full of fresh vegetables that were embedded with some tubers reserved for main plates.
With stock and fresh vegetables in hand, and really because my processor has become my main cooking tool in the last year (in effort to drink at least two green smoothies a day), I started playing.
A beautiful, textured vegetable purée made with a good helping of raw vegetables and my homemdade veggie stock.
It is a thing of beauty. Full of vitamins and vibrant burnt orange colour (thanks for highly pigmented carrots), this purée serves as an incredible addition to those very dishes calling for stock. Only this multi-layered flavor base will make them heartier, more robust, more fragrant and all-around well-rounded.
I recently shared the recipe with a friend who cheerfully emailed to let me know she used it to make risotto. And that she loved it. I’ve not seen a picture of her masterpiece, but if I had to visually guess, her bowl of rice was instantly a fluffy golden colour with notes of cilantro or parsley jumping at her senses. I can just see it.
Try this. Love it. Enjoy it.
This lovely recipe was the centerpiece of an NPR story on Morning Edition this past weekend. Listen to the interview below and enjoy their article by clicking on the link.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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- 3 cups vegetable stock (preferably scratch made)
- 6 stalks celery, with leaves
- 4 medium carrots, big chunks
- 2 whole tomatoes on vine, halved
- 1 green pepper, seeded
- 1 chayote, peeled and cubed
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 6 cloves garlic
- sea salt to taste or Sazón Goya