By Kay Stepkin, Special to the Tribune
June 6, 2012
Every cook should keep vegetable broth in the freezer to use as a foundation for soups, to add flavor to grains as they cook, and as a finish for sauteed vegetables.
Cheap and easy to make, homemade broth tastes better than canned versions. The basic version here starts with carrots, onion and celery. You can add other produce on hand. It's a great way to use up tired veggies or trimmings that would otherwise be wasted.
When vegetables are losing their freshness, freeze them in large chunks in heavy plastic bags, along with ends of carrots, celery and onions. For the recipe below, start with 3 to 4 cups of frozen veggie scraps and proceed the same way.
Using the broth
Cooking vegetables with a little broth allows their flavors to come through without drowning them in sauce or using too much oil. Almost any type of vegetable — greens such as kale, crucifers such as broccoli, green beans, you name it — can be prepared this way:
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; lightly brush it with olive oil. Add the washed, cut vegetables and stir for a few minutes, until they begin to stick to the pan. Then add minced garlic, ginger, a fresh herb and a sprinkle of your homemade broth. Stir for a minute or two until the liquid evaporates. I like to finish with a dash of nama shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce aged in wooden barrels) before turning off the heat.
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