Stocking your Kitchen : Make Vegetable Stock

Photo credit: DaveSW
Kelly Rossiter is taking us through cooking basics; start here and see them all here.

If you are vegetarian or have a family member who is, you can always substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock in any recipe. The flavour of the stock varies with the kind of vegetables you use and you can always tailor your stock to a particular recipe. If you are making stock for an Asian style menu, then you can add ginger and soy sauce to the cooking water.

Onions, carrots, celery, turnips, potatoes, red peppers, parsnips, garlic, mushrooms, and fresh herbs are all good choices for making stock and you can use them in any combination. Don't use vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or strong green leafy vegetables (kale is okay) because the flavour is overpowering and that is all you will taste.There are three ways to make vegetable stock. They are all simple to do, but they have different levels of flavour intensity. You can simply put the washed vegetables into a stock pot, top it up with water, bring it to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it (covered) for about two hours. This makes the most delicate tasting stock. Or you can heat some olive oil or butter in the pot, and cook the vegetables for 10 or 15 minutes over a medium heat, and then add the water and follow the rest of the directions.

The method I use is a bit more time-consuming, but delivers a heartier broth. I place the vegetables into a roasting pan, drizzle them with some olive oil and stir to coat. Roast them at 400°F for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables into the stock pot. Put the roaster onto the stove top on medium high heat and add water, stirring to get the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. (You can also use white wine.) This is called deglazing the pan.

If your pan is not for stove top use, then add boiling water to it and stir—don't worry about heating it from below. Add that water to the stock pot holding the vegetables, including everything you have scraped up. Then add rest of the water, and follow the directions above.

When the stock has cooked, allow it to cool slightly with the vegetables still in the pot. Place a colander over a large bowl and spoon the vegetables into it. Press the vegetables with the side of a spoon to get all of the stock out.

I neglected to mention in my post on making chicken stock, that I never salt my stock until I am ready to use it. Stock is generally pretty bland tasting without the addition of salt, but I find that I prefer to add it based on the recipe I am using and the ingredients it contains. You can keep the stock in the refrigerator for a week and freeze any portion of it.

Now you have a stock that can be used in soups, stews, sauces, and whatever you want to try.

Difficulty level: Easy

Tags: Recipes

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