Friday, January 7, 2011

Vegetable Stock

I run out of homemade chicken stock very quickly.  One batch of risotto, a couple soups and sauces, and poof! It's gone.  Although I'll used boxed or canned stock when I run out, I don't really like to.  I'd have to roast a chicken every week to get enough stock, especially in the winter when I'm making stews and soups and such.  And since I only buy sustainable, humanely raised, not-cheap chicken, I only do roast a chicken about once, maybe twice a month in the very dark months of winter.  Also, sometimes I cook for vegetarians, and having vegetable stock around for soups is needed, and every time I needed vegetable stock I would buy a box of it.  Of which, the Imagine low sodium vegetable broth isn't bad.  But it isn't cheap, and I thought I could probably make something better.

So, I needed an affordable, flavorful, robust stock that can stand in for chicken stock proudly.  A vegetable stock that is not wimpy.  The key to this is LOTS of ingredients, and most importantly, mushrooms.  Mushrooms give a meat-y, earthy, umami flavor that gives the stock a good backbone (pun intended).

Instead of just throwing in big pieces of vegetables, you want to chop everything, and then brown the vegetables before adding the water.  This process releases more flavor and makes a richer stock.

This will make two quarts of stock, but feel free to double the recipe.  Basic guideline is 2 quarts of water to 1 quart of veggies.

  • 1 cup celery hearts/ribs, chopped
  • Two small carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • stems of one bunch of parsley
  • one bay leaf
  • 5 or 6 whole peppercorns
  • 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh thyme 
  • 2 quarts water
  • Drizzle a little olive in a medium or large heavy bottomed pot, heat over medium heat.
  • Add celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms and garlic to pot.  Sprinkle with teaspoon of salt.
  • Saute over medium heat, stirring regularly, until vegetables soften, start to brown, and little bits are sticking to bottom of pot.  This should take about 10 or 15 minutes.  If medium heat on your stove is causing this to happen more quickly, lower the heat.
  • Add parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and water.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer very gently for about an hour.  Unlike stocks with bones, this stock does not like hours and hours of simmering.  An hour will get you all flavor you're going to get.
  • Put into containers and store in the fridge for one week, or put into freezer.

No comments:

Post a Comment