Miso, brown butter and stock vegetables – recipe

Stock vegetables are an accepted form of waste for most chefs and home cooks. Yes, stock is a great way to use up less desirable or inedible parts of fresh vegetables – carrot tops, onion skins, pea pods, celery butts, corn husks, etc – but, to taste nice, most stocks will likely also need to contain whole onions, carrots, celery, leeks and other prime vegetables. Yes, some of their flavour and nutrients will leach out into the cooking liquid, but the vegetables will still be nutritious, tender and perfectly fine to eat. To reduce waste, whenever I make stock now, I choose the vegetables I use carefully and serve them alongside the meal, as in many traditional dishes from cocido, a Spanish chickpea and meat broth, to bollito misto, the classic northern Italian stew.

To make meat stock, simmer meat bones with any inedible vegetable scraps, peppercorns, bay leaves and woody herbs for as long as they need (one to three hours, depending on the meat), then strain the stock, return it to the heat, add your prime vegetables (halved onions, leeks, halved carrots, celery sticks, etc), bring back to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. By this point, the vegetables will have imparted enough of their flavour and be cooked to perfect tenderness.

For vegetable stock, wrap any ingredients you don’t want to eat (vegetable scraps, peppercorns, woody herb stalks …) in cheesecloth and boil for 30 minutes alongside the prime vegetables.

Poached stock vegetables can be eaten just as they are, as a side vegetable, chopped into salads, whizzed into soup, mashed with butter, or upcycled into any number of other dishes such as this one.

The scattering of roasted buckwheat at the end is a nice, crunchy addition, though you could use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or nigella seeds instead.

If I’m making a blended soup, rather than make a separate stock or use a stock cube, I will sometimes add a small amount of stock vegetables that aren’t already in the stock pot – for example, for carrot and coriander soup, as well as the carrots and onions in the soup base, I’ll also use some finely chopped leek, celery and tomato in small enough quantities not to overpower or discolour the soup. This approach adds depth of flavour without the extra chore of making stock.

Prep 5 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4 as a side dish

100g butter
1 tbsp brown rice miso
(or other miso)
200ml plain yoghurt
350g warm poached stock vegetables
(eg, carrots, leeks, onions, celery, mushrooms)
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp toasted buckwheat, or other seeds (eg, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nigella seeds)
12 parsley leaves, or celery or lovage leaves

Heat the butter in a pan until it begins to foam, then stir in the miso. Spread the yoghurt on a serving plate, top with the warm stock vegetables (prepared as the main introduction), spoon over the butter and season generously. Sprinkle with toasted buckwheat and parsley leaves, then serve immediately.