|fresh vegetables, herbs and spices|
What I love about Bahrain is the availability of the vast array of fresh produce, herbs and spices. And any good supermarket will have aisles for cured meat, pickled veggies and of course fromagerie! Oh those smelly cheeses. My trip to the supermarket is not complete without spending time in that section and sampling those pungent treats.
But I guess you can't have it all as there are some kitchen basics that I can't find in any of the stores in island. Among those are buttermilk, half and half and stocks. Yes, chicken, beef, vegetable stocks can't be found in any supermarket. If you have seen these in the country, please feel free to correct me and point me to the right direction.
So, what's a girl to do? Use broth cubes instead? Haram! (as they say in arabic), there is no need to resort to such sacrilegious act. There is another way, in fact a better way-- you can make it yourself!
And I find home-made stock better than store bought because (1) it's all natural, no preservatives, (2) I have full control of what's in it, and (3) I can make a big batch and store it in the freezer and it will keep for months! How good is that?
For my version of the basic vegetable stock, I opted not to use oil and I only seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper. With this low sodium base, I can be more flexible with the dish I will be making with it.
So here's my Low Sodium Vegetable Stock:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hr, 15 mins
4 liters water
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
2 large white onions, roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped parsley, stalks included
1 head garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 dried bay leaves
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Put all the ingredients in a large pot or dutch oven. Pour over the water to cover the ingredients. Bring up to a boil over medium heat, (but don't let it boil or else you'll get a cloudy stock!). About 10 minutes.
2. Reduce to low heat and cook for another 50 minutes.
3. Let cool and strain the vegetables and herbs. Transfer stock to individual containers about 4 cups each or as desired. Keep in the freezer until later use.
Side Note: Because I hate to throw the strained vegetables, I put it in a ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer. I use the same veggies to make stock by adding 1.5 to 2 liters water and salt and pepper to taste. Now that's a great way to recycle.
Makes approx. 3.5 liters of stock.
01 May 2012