If you are working in the kitchen at all, start saving up your hard vegetable peelings and fresh herb stems/leaves. You can freeze them to make stock later on. Two of the easiest stocks to make are a shellfish stock and a vegetable stock. Today we are focusing on the versatile vegetable stock!! Sure, you can buy stock at the store, but you have to make sure you get the “Unsalted” type, and you cannot control the flavors in it like you can by making your own. Maybe you are making a vegetarian-style soup, but you still want that meaty, umami flavor profile. Then look no further than making a vegetable stock with a lot of mushrooms (whether it be whole mushrooms, or trimmings/stems leftover from before). A mushroom vegetable stock is very versatile. Or maybe you need stock in a hurry, and you have been saving up your vegetable and herb scraps. Either way, vegetables, herbs, water, stockpot, and heat later, you have an easy vegetable stock with great flavors.
Few points to note.
DO NOT salt the stock. It is a base for your dishes so it will be seasoned later.
DO use hard vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions, leeks, and fennel.
DO NOT use soft vegetables such as squash, zucchini, and eggplant.
DO use as many herbs you desire (fresh preferably). Basil stalks/leaves, parsley stems, thyme sprigs, Marjoram/oregano, etc. Go sparingly with heavy flavored herbs such as Rosemary and Dill.
DO NOT use potatoes. It will make the stock cloudy and grainy while providing little to no flavor.
DO roast the vegetables until they get some color on them for more flavor if desired. Also use tomato paste if you wish to bring a bit of earthy sweetness to the party.
Put all ingredients in a large stockpot and add fresh cold water. Place on the stove over high heat until boiling; then reduce to a steady simmer for 1-3 hours. We prefer the 3 hour version uncovered so that it can reduce and concentrate the flavors, but if you are in a hurry, 1 hour simmering will get you close enough. Recipe below pictures.
Green Onions (go light)
Rosemary (go light)
Dill (go light)
Whole Black Peppercorns
Tomato Paste (optional)
Fresh Cold Water
Note: Do not use salt. Stock is a basic building block for cooking which means it will be seasoned later during the cooking process.
Do not use potatoes as they disintegrate and make the stock cloudy and grainy, and do not provide much flavor.
1. For more flavor, roast the vegetables at high temperatures (450°F) until browned. For a bit more flavor/body to the stock, add tomato paste to the stockpot
2. Place all ingredients in a large stockpot. Cover completely with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
3. Simmer for at least 1 hour. Can simmer as long as 3 hours if desired.
4. Strain into desired container. Freeze if desired.