Composting and soup

Composting has become very popular and seems like a very earth friendly activity. My daughter saves her compost scraps and brings them to the farmers market near her Brooklyn apartment on Saturdays. Here in Connecticut I think outdoor compost bins are really invitations to bears and other wildlife to feast. The bear pictured above visited a neighbors yard. When I started sequestering here I read an article about saving some food scraps in the freezer to use to make a veggie broth. They advised against using anything in the cabbage family because it was thought to create a bitter taste.

For three months I saved the scraps of onion, celery, carrots and asparagus in a gallon plastic bag in the freezer. Recently I also had the carcass of of a roast chicken and decided to add it to the mix. I put it all in a big pot with water to cover, some salt and a bay leaf and simmered it for about 2 hours. When it had cooled I strained it, discarded the solids and put it in a food storage bowl and refrigerated it with the idea of making a pureed vegetable soup. I should not have been surprised that using green and orange vegetables does not yield a clear golden broth.

I have to say I was a bit put off by the muddy brown appearance of the stock and decided to use half stock and half water to make the soup. Normally when I make soup I sauté some onion and celery but saw no need to do this with the very flavorful stock. I sautéed 6 rather small zucchini cut into rounds and added 3 small cut up Idaho potatoes. I don't bother to peel the squash. I covered it with 4 cups of stock and 2 cups of water. After bringing to a boil, I let it simmer for about an hour. When it cooled I pureed with with a hand blender. Of course, you can really use and vegetables or combination that appeals to you - carrots come to mind. Season to taste with salt and flavoring of your choice. Curry is nice, as is tarragon or dill. I have to say this stock gave the soup a nice rich flavor and did not discolor it. I will probably continue to collect my scraps.

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