Vegetable stock is an excellent substitute for chicken stock, and is used well in all vegetarian fare.
To make 4 cups of vegetable stock, you will need:
- 2 large onions – cut into large chunks
- 2 medium carrots – cut into large chunks
- 3 stalks of celery – cut into large chunks
- 1 whole bulb of garlic – separated into cloves – cloves left whole
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- water (You can use the water you used to boil potatoes in — after straining out the potatoes, of course
The stock will need to simmer for a full hour. Because you’ll be simmering it for this length of time, it is best that you chop the vegetables into large chunks instead of dicing them small.
Remove the celery leaves, because they are extremely bitter and will only succeed in adding that bitter taste to the stock.
You can leave the carrot peels on. If you do, you will retain the carrots’ natural nutrients, since so much of their nutrients are in the skin. Merely scrub the carrots well under cold running water, then chop the carrots into large pieces.
Break the bulb of garlic into individual cloves. Then just peel as usual. You don’t need to chop the garlic. You will need to use the full bulb of garlic because garlic is the base flavor in vegetable stock.
Now combine all the ingredients in a stockpot large enough to hold all of the ingredients (including enough water to cover all of the vegetables).
Add seasonings to the vegetables, i.e., peppercorns and a bay leaf. You can also add the stems of herbs (like parsley, thyme, or rosemary) or scraps left over from other dishes. Potato scraps can be added as the starch will help thicken the stock some. If you are making the stock to use in Asian recipes, try adding fresh, peeled ginger. If you usually use chicken stock or beef stock – or simply like the flavor it adds to your foods, try adding some chicken-style bouillon or beef-style bouillon. Or you can leave it as vegetable stock and then add the bouillon for the individual dish you’re preparing
Heat your stock to a high temperature, bringing it to a quick boil, then turn the temperature down to low. Simmer for an hour. Any longer and the vegetables will start to turn mushy and lose all their flavor.
Strain your stock through a fine mesh strainer. A cheesecloth in a colander will also work.
Your stock should be light in color, sweet, and translucent. If you would like a darker stock, caramelize the onions and carrots first before placing them in the stockpot.
And there you have a quick and easy way to make your own vegetable stock without having to spend an enough amount of money for it, and the prep time really isn’t much either.
If you’re not planning on using it right away, and are just making it to have on hand for later, you can easily freeze this recipe. Just pour the stock into ice cube trays, and after it has been frozen, put the cubes in freezer bags or a freezer container. Just be sure to mark the date on the storage so you know when you made it. Then just take out however many of the cubes you need for the recipe that you’re making. HINT: Measure how much one of the ice cube holes holds so you know how many of them to take out for the recipe you’re preparing. Easy enough to do. Just fill one of them and pour into your measuring cup and you’ll know how many of them you’ll need to make a cup of stock. My cubes are 1/8 of a cup, so I know to take out 8 of them if I need a cup. 🙂