Anyone who owns a Thermomix or who has been to a demo has heard about Thermomix Vegetable Stock Concentrate. It is generally suggested by consultants that it be one of the first things you make with your new machine. It serves as a base for soups and casseroles and a tablespoon here and there in savoury dishes really brings out great flavours. It can be used in place of meat stock in any recipe and one tablespoon of it is equivalent to one commercially bought stock cube. There is an official recipe in the Everyday Cookbook which is fantastic, but I would never bother buying those specific vegetables, particularly when some of them are only in season for a certain amount of time. Most consultants I've talked to say they just make it with any veggies they have to hand, particularly ones that are going soft or getting old. I take it a step further as you'll see below, as I've found that I rarely have vegetables left over to go soft and be used in stock! My method means all I pay for is the salt and oil used in making the stock. It's been a long long time since I bought stock cubes or liquid stock in a supermarket, but I'm willing to bet my way is a LOT cheaper and probably a bit healthier too.
This is probably the ugliest thing ever to make in a Thermomix, and yet it is the thing I took the most pictures of, go figure.
While preparing a meal or preparing for a demo I carefully wash all the vegetables I am going to use, including their skins and tops. Then I chop them up and reserve anything that is edible but not palatable, such as the tops of carrots and zuchinnis as pictured here, the stalks of parsley, the leaves of celery, thin pumpkin skins and pumpkin seeds, the strings/tops/tails of beans, that sort of thing. Things like potato eyes and brown, bruised patches of vegetables still go in the compost bucket along with fruit scraps. I have a large plastic container which lives in the freezer and when I'm cleaning up from cooking I take these useable scraps of vegetable and put them in it.
This is my veggie scraps container, full to the brim of frozen offcuts. Luckily it is just the right size that it usually gets full right around the time I'm scraping out the bottom of the last jar of vegetable stock concentrate.
I put the frozen veggies in the Thermomix and add a bay leaf plus whatever other herbs I have to hand. If I have them fresh, great! If not I just use dried.
I basically follow the instructions for making Vegetable Stock Concentrate in the EDC now, except I chop the veggies on speed 6 for 15 seconds instead of 10 as they are starting out frozen.
Mmm, thawing finely chopped veggies, can't tell what they were now!
I add 150gms of sea salt and a splash of olive oil. I think the EDC recipe calls for rock salt, but I bought a 10kg bag of sea salt from Costco a few years ago for preserving so that is what I use. Meh, it's all NACL :-)
Cook it for 20 minutes on 100C speed 1. It looks disgusting but it smells so good! Don't taste it though, it is stock and does just taste like salt at this stage.
Puree for 1 minute on speed 9. Because I had so many zucchinis celery leaves and parsley stalks this time around it came out a bright green. In the past I've had stocks that have come out anywhere from red to green to brown.
Last step, I pour the stock into a clean jar, scraping out as much as possible. I then put about 300ml of water into the Thermomix and hit Turbo a few times, then use the spatula to scrap any remaining stock off the sides and into the water. I pour this mixture into the old jar of concentrate and shake to combine it with the scrapings of stock still left in that jar. This creates a liquid stock which I use before using the concentrate. In any recipe calling for a stock cube or TM stock concentrate plus a certain amount of water I use half and half liquid stock and water to make up the weight. This means that there is really very little waste from this recipe!
The liquid stock will last in the fridge about two weeks, the concentrate will last six months. I also make a salt-reduced concentrate by following the above instructions but only using about 50gms salt, then pouring the resulting mixture into ice cube trays to freeze (as it does not keep long without the salt to preserve it) and then popping the cubes out and keeping them in a container in the freezer. These will also last about six months.