How to cook vegetable stock

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Photo by: Eartha Lowe - @earthacooks.com vegetarian soup stock

BY: EARTHA LOWE

You’ll love the smell of colourful vegetables and whole spices, as they’re roasted to cook a rich, brown, and nutrient-dense, heart-warming stock with. Stock is a liquid in which solids have been cooked and then strained out, with the goal of transferring the flavour from the solids to the liquid. Then it is used to enhance ready-to-serve soup broths, as well as for sauces and other recipes.

To cook your own vegetable stock, play around with the ingredients in a number of ways; substituting freely among the vegetables. The best tasting, most useful stock can be made from ingredients you might otherwise have thrown away. Only leeks or onions, carrots, and celery are truly essential. Fresh herbs add a lovely flavour. Parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, curry leaves, and bay leaves are often used in recipes for stock. If you want to cook stocks in which one or more flavours shine, add one or more of these ingredients:

  1. Whole spices, fresh or dried, such as allspice, peppercorn, cloves and ginger (in small amounts), juniper berries, and so on
  2. Dried mushrooms, or the stems of fresh mushrooms. The distinctive flavour of mushrooms is almost always a fine addition
  3. I like the scent of garlic in many savoury soups and dishes. A whole head of garlic left intact will lend a mellow flavour

You’ll Need

  • 2 large onions, quartered and unpeeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 white turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half
  • 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 shallot, unpeeled
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 – 3 bay leaves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 8 cups water, plus 4 cups water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery, garlic, shallots in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  1. Roast for approximately 45 minutes until vegetables are nicely browned. Shaking the pan occasionally and turn the ingredients once or twice.
  1. Use a slotted spoon to scoop all the ingredients into a stockpot; add the remaining ingredients and the 8 cups of water. Turn the heat to high.
  1. Place the roasting pan over a burner set to high. Add 2 to 4 cups of water, depending on the depth of the pan. Bring the water to a boil, scraping off any bits of food stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour this mixture into the stockpot along with any remaining water not used for deglazing.
  1. Bring the contents of the stockpot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. Cook until the vegetables are very soft and the stock is highly flavoured.
  1. Remove the stock from the heat and strain, pressing the vegetables to extract all their juices. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Tips for Serving:

Pour into storage containers for the fridge or freezer. This stock can be refrigerated for 4 – 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Refrigerate, then skim any hardened fat from the surface if you like.

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