After a strange, elongated dance with flu this winter, I craved nothing but soup broth for days. Maybe it was instinctual – my body associates broth with healing, as I was brought up to believe that my Bubbie’s chicken soup was THE Jewish penicillin.
A little embarrassed to admit, these days, I’ve been a broth-in-a-box kind of girl. I know, I know! Making soup broth is so easy! The problem is, I’ve always found homemade broths to be expensive, and quite wasteful, throwing all of the strained, overly mushy vegetables straight into the trash. However, my thoughts on this subject changed dramatically when I recently discovered that broth can actually be a great way to use up otherwise unusable produce!
I had been stockpiling a few vegetable odds and ends in my freezer over the last little while (too-soft celery, wilted mushrooms, broccoli stems), and I decided that this would be a great time to use them all up. I added in some garlic and onions (for some super flavour and amazing healing properties) along with a few of the herbs that I dried last summer, some tamarind, and some salt, and a beautiful, versatile broth was born!
The base of your broth should be made up of garlic, onions, celery and carrots. Mushrooms, if you have them on hand, add a lot of flavour as well. The rest is up to you! Here are a few things that I always include:
- Prunes – to create rich colour and add subtle sweetness. Thank you Ottolenghi for this suggestion. I never go without it!
- Tamarind – to add a bit of tanginess. You can adjust the amount to your taste preference (a little goes a long way!)
- Dill – if I don’t have fresh dill on hand, I’ll add a generous sprinkling of dill seeds to get a nice burst of earthy flavour. This is reminiscent of the dill-icious matzah ball soups that I ate as a child.
- Black pepper & chilli flakes – for a little bit of bite.
- Salt – but only at the end! Salt your broth only once it has simmered away for a long time, so you know it’s reached it’s maximum flavour potential. This is a great way to avoid over-salting.
Whole Vegetable Cooking: Healing Vegan Broth
(Basic vegetable soup stock / vegan soup stock)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled & roughly chopped
1 entire bulb of garlic, peeled & roughly chopped or minced
4 stalks celery with the leaves (if available), roughly chopped
3 carrots & greens (if available), roughly chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste (or more, to taste)
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh tarragon (or 2 tbsp dried)
1/2 cup chopped dill (or 1 tbsp dill seeds)
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chilli flakes
salt, to taste
+ any leftover veggies / odds / ends you have laying around!
Heat oil in large pot for about 1 minute. Over medium heat, add onions, sauté until translucent. Add garlic, celery & carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add “leftover” veg, if using, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Add tamarind, prunes, spices and herbs. Cover, and simmer over low heat, 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Use fine mesh sieve to strain soup into clean pot. Taste & add salt as needed. Can be stored up to 2 weeks in refrigerator or 6 months in freezer.