Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Stock Answer...

These days when I make a soup I generally pop in a vegan stock cube that I buy from the local health food store. I do this "from convenience", but in reality, if I'm making soup anyhow, it isn't such a stretch to make my own fresh organic soup stock and freeze it for use in future soups. I haven't done the math, but it is probably cheaper, too.

So, if you have the time, this is well worth the trouble. You can use the whole vegetable (without peeling), just make sure they have been scrubbed clean.

There are various combinations you can use (to suit your palate). Here is one to try:

Add the following organic ingredients to a large Dutch oven or soup pot:

~6 oz. dried Beans (any kind-- rinse in advance until they stop 'foaming' and they will be more digestible. Also, mixed beans are more apt to create digestive problems than just using one variety)
~1 large Potato, chopped but with skin on, scrubbed
~2 Carrots, cut into chunks
~1 Onion, sliced
~2 sticks Celery, chopped
~3 whole Garlic cloves
~1 Bouquet Garni (see instructions to follow)
~1 T. chopped fresh Parsley
~2 1/2 Litres (4 1/2 pints) filtered Water

*Bring the above to a boil and then immediately put a lid on and turn it to simmer for about 3 1/2 hours. Strain and freeze. You can use the pulp in other Vita-Mix soups as a creamy base.

*According to Wikipedia, bouquet garni is a French invention of any number of herbs, usually tied together with string that is trailed in the stock or soup to add an extra surge of flavor. I would suggest that if you want intense flavor that you could also use any of the pure culinary-grade essential oils such as basil, thyme, oregano, etc., singly, or in combination. CAUTION: Less is more with essential oils, and DO NOT use any essential oils that read "for external use only" since they have likely been adulterated with chemical additives and distilled with solvents.

**picture of bouquet garni is taken from the Wikipedia site and contains sage, bay and thyme, a classic combination.
**The use of the word "whirled" is meant to indicate a soup that is fully to partially made up using a Vita-Mix. UNTIL DECEMBER 15, 2008, with each VitaMix purchase from this site, you could win a $50 Gift Card (shipping is free). To learn more about this contest and the amazing Whole Food Machine (10-Appliances-in-One), click here.

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