A good, homemade vegetable stock is an essential part of any serious kitchen. It is the base for soups, stews, ragus and gravies.
A lot of the time, people will make fresh food, but will ruin it by using a store bought stock that is loaded with MSG and heart attack inducing levels of sodium, negating any health benefits from their fresh veg. Plus of course, so many stocks in supermarkets have a ridiculously high amount of ingredients when really, the only thing in a stock should be veg, herbs and water.
When making a homemade stock, I never add salt. The stock should be used as a base, it should compliment whatever you are adding to it, so any salt can be added as you are cooking with it.
Making it is so easy. You chop up veg, you don’t even need to peel, just give them a wash, cover in water and boil for an hour. EASY. It freezes well so portion out in containers and you have enough stock for the week or two ahead….
The below ingredients are what I use as a base, but I add in whatever I can. I keep a big plastic bag in the freezer of vegetable peel and discarded ends which I add. A good chef wastes NOTHING.
Serving depends on the size of your pot, but you will get at least 1, maybe 2 litres out of this
- 1 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 or 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small leek, chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- A few sprigs thyme
- 8 peppercorns, crushed
- NOTE: You can use anything – Mushrooms, tomatoes, parsnips, beetroots, celeriac, suede, asparagus, anything!
- Chuck all your ingredients in a stock pot or any large pot, cover it with water and bring to the boil. Lower and simmer for an hour. If any scummy bits gather at the top, discard those little gits. After an hour or so, pour out the stock into a large container. You may wish to use a cheesecloth or something if you are really anal, but I find just a good small holed strainer/sieve is more than adequate.
Neil young “Harvest”
How the hell do you match an album with a vegetable stock? I like this challenge. With stocks you do a TINY bit of work and then sit back and relax for an hour. You’ll be doing this on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon so you want something to calm down to whilst you wait. Grab yourself a mug of Rosie Lee and stick on Harvest by Neil Young. Perfect. I imagine Neil has made some stock in his time!!!