While we're on the subject of gravies (in case you missed it, this is my personal attempt to blog A MONTH OF VEGAN GRAVIES for the "Vegan Month of Food" project) I'll share my favorite vegetable stock recipe. Plain, basic, boring vegetable stock. I'm running for "Most Boring Vegan Mofo Post Ever". But basics are good. We all need a few basic recipes in our repertoire.
I've already admitted to you that I use premade, packaged or boxed broth at times for convenience, (*gasp*) but when I have homemade stock in the freezer, it's definitely my preference; The flavor is SO much better.
There are only a billion or so "vegetable broth" recipes out there on the Internets, and if you have one you like, by all means use it!
The vegetables vary according to whatever produce I might have around, but this is the basic outline I work from.
This may look like a long, involved recipe with lots of ingredients, but it's all pretty basic, and goes together very easily. Just cook a bunch of vegetables and herbs in a big pot.
Once cooked and cooled, this freezes nicely. 2-cup containers make it convenient for gravy-making.
BASIC VEGETABLE STOCK
- 3 onions, sliced
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries, dried juniper berries OR pickling spices
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 2 celery ribs, chopped (no leaves)
- 1 medium leek, chopped
- 10 medium mushrooms, quartered OR 1 cup dry shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted (the dry ones actually give more flavor)
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, halved and smashed
- 1 cup chopped turnips, parsnips or rutabaga, optional
- 1 small fennel bulb, chopped, optional
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon Marmite or other concentrated vegetable broth base
- 2 cups red wine
- 5 quarts water
Saute sliced onions in olive oil over medium heat until browned. this will take a while, but is the basis of a great-tasting broth.
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add the rest of the vegetables and 2 Tbsp. oil. Cover and "sweat" the vegetables until soft: (cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the vegetables are softened, 5 - 10 minutes) - a little browning is OK though, too.
Add the browned onions, the herb sachet, tomato paste, Marmite, water and wine - should be enough to cover the vegetables by several inches, at least. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low simmer and heat uncovered for 2 hours, skimming off the foamy stuff on top, if needed.
Strain the stock through a colander lined with cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. The cheesecloth makes for a clearer broth.
Use the stock immediately or cool in 'fridge. The stock will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
I like this for soup base and for gravy, adjust the seasonings to your taste (I always say that, but MY tastes are not the same as yours; You may have to play with it a bit, or a lot! But that's the fun of cooking!)
To make gravy with this stock, just use it wherever your favorite recipe asks for "broth or stock".