Thursday, February 19, 2009

Basic Vegetable Stock

Pin It One of the easiest ways to turn a bleh veggie soup into a great veggie soup is good basic vegetable stock. It's also a good substitute for chicken stock. I think making my own stock is one of the cheapest and best ways to improve vegetarian meals.

You can use almost any veggies to make stock. Even though there's no "right" way to make a vegetable stock, most cookbooks will tell you that you shouldn't use cabbages. Otherwise you'll get a big pot of cabbage soup (which is good or bad, depending on your vantage point). Almost all the recipes that I've read use onions, carrots, celery stalks, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme. But I've made stock using corn, mushrooms, potatoes, dill, rosemary, and other herbs.

Today, I just want basic vegetable stock, which includes:
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 leeks, leaves only
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • whole head of garlic, peeled
  • big bunch of parsley
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
Onions, carrots, celery stalks are sauteed together for 5 minutes or so.

Everything else then goes into the pot. Cover with twice the amount of water, in volume. Cook for an hour on medium high heat. Strain out the veggies, then you've got vegetable stock!

For storage purposes, I continue to cook it until the stock is reduced to half. After it's cooled, I will put the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. When I need vegetable stock, I just take out the ice cubes and add an equal amount of water back into the stock.

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