While we can buy ready-made stock, there is something great about making your own. You can adjust the flavour to suit you (many stocks taste only of salt!) and it’s a great opportunity to use up some veggie scraps (getting all you can out of each part of the veg!).
So I bet you’re wondering what we can tell you about a vegetable stock that you haven’t heard before? Yes, it’s just vegetables and water, but here are a few tips to help you make a killer stock:
- Carrots, celery, and onion are the foundation of a good stock
- Don’t throw your vegetables in whole, cut them into smaller chunks to increase the surface area in contact with the water
- No need to peel the vegetables. Even the skins of the onion will add some extra flavour
- Option to roast the vegetables first or brown in the pan
- Use mushrooms or a parmesan rind for a pleasant umami taste
- Start with cold water!
- Longer isn’t necessarily better – an hour or two is all you need to create a great veggie stock
- Keep vegetable scraps in the freezer to add to your stock, such as celery leaves and onion skins. However, avoid using potatoes or any other high-starch veg (they make the stock cloudy) or brassicas, such as cabbage or broccoli, zucchini or leafy greens (they will make the stock bitter)
- Use hardy herbs such as parsley, bay, thyme or sage and whole peppercorns to round out the flavour
Our recipe below is a rough guide – feel free to experiment. This version yielded us around 2 litres of stock.
- 4 - carrots
- 2 - onions
- 3 - celery stalks
- 2 - small fennel bulb
- 1 - red capsicum
- 200g - mixed mushrooms
- 1 - thumb sized knob of ginger
- 1 - small handful parsley stalks
- 1tbsp - olive oil
- 5 - sage leaves
- 1tsp - whole peppercorns
- Roughly chop the vegetables, ginger, and parsley stalks.
- Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and brown the vegetables over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and cover with enough cold water, so it’s about two inches above the vegetables.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1.5 hours.
- Strain* and season with salt. Use straight away, or cool and keep in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*Just be careful not to do what we’ve done in more distracted moments and strain the stock down the sink! Remember to strain it into a receptacle!