Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

Low sodium cooking takes some practice but once you "get it" - it become much easier.  This recipe came from combining a few different ones and trial and error.... tweak it until it pleases you. I often double the garlic in this.

1 Lb. celery, whole, with leaves, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb.carrots- cleaned and cut in 1 inch pieces
1.5  lb. onions  -quartered
1 lb. tomatoes (if in season) Cored
3 cloves garlic,
1 teaspoon thyme
bay leaf removed after simmering
1 teaspoon  sweet basil bl
8 black peppercorns
1 gallon water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Remove leaves and tender inner parts of celery and set aside.

Toss onions, carrots, tomatoes, with olive oil. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and place them in the 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) oven. Stir the vegetable every 15 minutes. Cook until all of the vegetables have browned and the onions start to caramelize, this will take over one hour.

Put the browned vegetables, celery, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, pepper corns, Italian parsley and water into a large stock pot. Bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered until liquid is reduced by half.

Pour the broth through a colander, catching the broth in a large bowl or pot. The liquid caught in the bowl or pot is your vegetable broth it can be used immediately or stored for later use. Although the vegetables are no longer necessary for your broth they are delicious to eat hot or cold, don't waste them

Place all the ingredients into a stockpot and simmer, partially covered, for 8 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally. Skim off any scum that appears. Cook it this way for 45 minutes. (If using a crockpot, cook on LOW for 8-12 hours and skim scum when done.).

Remove the ingredients from the pot and strain the stock through cheesecloth or a cheesecloth-lined vegetable strainer or sieve. Throw out the solids.

Simmer the strained stock until it reduces to about 8 cups.

If making ahead, let cool and store in 2-cup freezer containers to approximate the volume of one can of soup.

Add dried herbs at the beginning of the cooking time, and fresh herbs right before serving.
If your recipe calls for a heavy cream, use pureed cooked potatoes instead. Or remove about two cups of your cooked soup and blend until smooth. (Use a stick hand blender for best results, or puree it one cup at a time in a blender. Hold the lid on tight with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from burns.) Stir the puree back into the soup to thicken it. 
To add real cream flavor, stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream when the recipe calls for 1 cup--a little cream will go a long way.Note: because cream is an emulsion, it doesn't "break" or curdle--like milk or sour cream can do--if the soup starts to boil. Use the real thing, but in small amounts, if you're watching your saturated fat intake.

If low sodium is NOT  a concern  you can add Miso--fermented soybean paste--adds savor to soup stocks, especially vegetarian broths. Add a tablespoon or so per quart of water, or to taste. Miso is high in salt.