Vegetable Stock

Making vegetable stock is such an easy thing to do, and it’s much quicker than making either veal or chicken stock. In fact, I was working on a Pumpkin Polenta recipe yesterday and saw that I didn’t have any veggie stock left in the refrigerator or freezer. I was in a hurry (when am I not??) and thought I’d just make a quick run to the store. And then I realized that I could actually MAKE my own vegetable stock faster than driving to the store, finding a parking spot, finding some veggie stock I liked, waiting in line, paying for it, and driving back home with it. Oh, and I was still in my jammies, so I’d have to get dressed too….

Turns out, making my own stock was even MORE efficient, because while the vegetables were simmering away, infusing water with their wonderful flavor, I was able to write out my ideas of how I wanted to make the polenta, and get my mis-en-place all put together to make it. How cool is that?

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Cook’s Notes:

  • If I make a large amount, I keep the flavors well-balanced and neutral. If I’m making stock for a specific recipe, I use vegetables that will complement or emphasize the dish I’m making. For example, I’ll add a bunch of stripped corn cobs if the stock will be used for corn soup or corn risotto.
  • This is a great way to use up some orphan veggies in the refrigerator – but avoid distinctively flavored vegetables that could overpower the dish that the broth will be added to. Fennel comes to mind.
  • For a more muted stock, do not brown the veggies first. Just bring the water to a boil and add chopped veggies. Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Freeze in ziplock bags for easy storage. They stack great and they’re in pre-measured amounts.

Ingredients…

  • 1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • 1 large twig fresh thyme
  • 1 small twig fresh sage
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 cups water

Making It…

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add all the vegetables and herbs at once and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to brown and are very aromatic.
  2. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes and strain.
  3. Allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.