The hard thing about vegetable stock is trying to find a decent one at the store. I have had pretty much no luck. Either they are so loaded with carrots that they might as well be carrot juice, or they contain an ingredient I have an allergy to (mushrooms).
I decided to make my own, in much the same way I make chicken stock. Well, minus the chicken part, of course. I tried saving my veggie trimmings for the stock, but quickly realized I would need to save for months. Instead, I focused on fresh veggies that can bring out enough flavor that the stock isn’t too weak, but doesn’t contain any one over powering flavor. Among the first things I knew I didn’t want was anything from the cabbage family, that includes broccoli, as well as kale and other strong greens. Also, potatoes and yams are not really good for this. And steer clear of beets, because they will turn your stock red.
When making stock from protein, you have natural collagen to help thicken and give your stock a nice sheen, but not so with vegetables. Using a nice extra virgin olive oil is a great alternative. Just remember to go easy as you will probably add oil to what ever you are using the stock for. Veggies rule!
- Two medium onions, each cut into 8ths
- Four large carrots (leave unpeeled), cut into one inch pieces
- Four large celery stalks with leaves, cut into one inch pieces
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 medium roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 bunch spinach, stems and leaves rough chopped
- 1 packed cup parsley sprigs
- fresh thyme, a few sprigs
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 4 quarts cold water
- Salt and whole pepper corns*
Thoroughly wash all vegetable. Really get in there. The last thing you want is dirt in your stock. Chop all veggies, and preheat your large stock pot, and add oil.
Add onion, carrot and celery; cook until browning starts. You want to get some good color, but don’t burn. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, then add vinegar and allow the strong odor to dissipate. Then add the rest of your ingredients.
*Be careful with the salt, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!
Bring to a simmer and let it go until you get to the desired taste, usually two to three hours. Strain with a fine mesh strainer, and use immediately. Or, cool strained stock in a shallow pan for one hour, then transfer to fridge to cool completely before covering. You can keep in fridge for up to five days, or freeze for up to three months.
Serving suggestions: Veggie risotto, soups, base for sauces, cooking with legumes, etc.