Kitchen sink broth

This is the laziest, most delicious, amp-up-your-food broth I’ve ever made. I love lazy and delicious things. I love hands-off cooking that seems like you put a lot of effort in.

This is that.

Over a few weeks this summer, I stumbled across recipes for a few different kinds of broth — the regulars like chicken and vegetable, but then my mushroom CSA had a recipe for mushroom stem broth, and Food52 had a recipe for parmesan broth — and in the process of saving individual things for these delicious bases, I thought, “Why not just save everything?”

So I tossed all the food “waste” I was creating in a bag in the freezer. Mushroom stems, yes — but also every kind of cheese rind, the skins from roasted garlic cloves, peels from carrots, the bottom root bits of onions/leeks/cabbage, bones and skin from meat dishes, stems from kale. Anything that I might normally compost or toss, I smashed into this quart bag.

And then when I need broth, here’s what I do:

  • dump the contents of the bag into a stockpot
  • add 12 cups water and a bay leaf or two
  • simmer until reduced to about 8 cups (for me it takes about 2 hours)
  • salt to taste
  • the end.

It’s pretty amazing, and can be substituted for almost any kind of broth. (It’s a deep, multi-flavored broth, not a simple one — so if you really want a simple, clean flavor in something like chicken noodle soup, this might not meet that need.) My favorite part about it is that it varies with what you’ve been eating. For me, that means in winter there are a lot more onion and cheese-rind flavors; in summer the broth is a lot brighter and more green-tasting. (Sidebar: If you’re vegan, I would definitely make sure your bag includes mushroom stems, or it may come out lacking depth.)

After I empty the bag I just put it right back into the freezer to keep storing stuff. I find that one full quart bag usually packs enough punch to flavor 8 cups of broth; if you make bigger batches of soup or broth, you may want to use a gallon bag instead. I also use the broth when cooking rice, quinoa, or beans; it freezes well in mason jars.

You’re welcome.

P.S. Here are a few recipes where I like to use kitchen sink broth:

Escarole and Orzo Soup (if you don’t have escarole, dinosaur kale makes a fine substitute)

Shrimp & Rice with Gorgonzola Sauce (use broth to cook the rice)

Mushroom & Chorizo English Minestrone

Polenta Triangles Stuffed with Spicy Greens & Cheese (use broth to cook the polenta)

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"For the worthlessness of this life did strike Richard pretty forcibly — buying necklaces for Evelyn."
Elissa Y. Schufman
That's me. I write stuff.
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