Stocking up makes sense

There’s been much about this week on how much food goes to waste, and our own experience is that far too much languishes at the back of the fridge when the weekly restock happens. Today it was clear that with what was leftovers, and not likely to be used, there was plenty to start a fine vegetable stock.
Leftovers yielded a third of a swede, some sad but fine once peeled carrots, half a lost onion and a chunk of courgette – where did the rest go? Into the stock pot.
Incoming from the shop went the leek tops – does anyone get dirty leeks these days? – the tops of the spring onions that were already a bit limp, quite a chunk of parsley stalks and some lemon thyme. Bay leaves and marjoram, home dried, and some juniper berries and pepper corns introduced some flavour. Oh, and a couple of garlics and a chunk of ginger. All ready to hubble and bubble and do magic for tomorrow’s soup.
Except, along comes himself wanting know what’s happening to the piece of ham that’s been waiting to be cooked for a week. So that goes in too.
Result after 90 minutes? One ham with much more flavour than it might have had otherwise and ready to be chilled down.
And the stock, strained it went back on the heat to reduce and when tested it had a fine flavour that would have made an excellent broth on its own: in the restaurant we used to take very, very hot soups bowls, put in a scant handful of julienned vegetables and pour on boiling stock like this. Just a tablespoon of dry sherry on top. Very grand, but it’s the stock what does it.
Or you could convert into Tom Yam: never be without a jar of this wonderful paste. If doing for one, similar process – in a hot bowl just slice some mushrooms, or chicken or a mix, add a teaspoon – to taste – of paste and boiling stock. Stir and eat.
In the end though the stock was used to help with the left-overs mountain: sweated leeks, carrots, garlic, ginger, a chilli and half a squash soon started to smell delicious. Half the stock went in together with a handful of chopped parsley. When cooked the rest of the stock was added for a quick cool down so the vegetables could be liquidised in the pan. Checked for seasoning, but it didn’t need ‘owt. A handful or more of red lentils to give a bit of substance and bite and there we have it, sense of stock and leftovers.

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