A good quality vegetable stock makes all of the difference to vegetarian food. A good stock will take an OK soup to a beautiful soup. My chef friend recently extolled the virtues and simplicity of making stock instead of using stock powder or buying stock when cooking us a risotto … omanomanom. I had never even tried to make one myself because I assumed it would require too much effort and cost too much. I was wrong. The following is a very basic mirepoix based vegetable stock that makes SOOO much. It freezes well for 4 – 6 months so you are set for a very long time when you make this. My perception that it is too expensive went out the window as well. I’ve been purchasing pre-made stock for a while now because I thought it was better than the powdered variety. But my local supermarket sells 1kg bags of carrots for $1, and onions and celery are cheap as chips too. The rest I have in my pantry at home.
Provided that you make it on a day when you plan to be home for a few hours it is pretty low maintenance. The only time required is to roughly chop the veggies, boil the water, then check it occasionally until it is ready. I recommend reading the potential spins section of this post, as what I am making is a very basic version which you could jazz up all sorts of ways to make something even more spectacular. The smaller you chop the veggies the more flavour they will give to the stock.
- 1 kg carrots – topped and tailed and chopped into approx. 1 inch chunks (or smaller)
- 1 head of celery – the very bottom part chopped off, stems chopped into approx. 1 inch chunks (or smaller), include some leaves.
- 2 onions, chopped roughly
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- Add veggies, garlic and peppercorns to your biggest pot
- Fill the pot with cold tap water
The onion and celery are less dense so rise to the top. I swear there is carrot in there!
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer for approximately 2-3 hours, stirring as needed. Check for seasoning after 2 hours and add salt/pepper as desired.
- Remove the vegetables using a sieve. These can be chucked out (I know it sounds like a waste – it felt hard to do but will get easier in time. The veggies have done their thing by this time). I did eat a few and enjoy the flavour in them, though.
- Use what you need and freeze the rest in sealed containers.