Thursday, October 06, 2011

Vegetable Stock. The most boring post ever,

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!

This is mine, however, and if you haven't yet tried making broth, it's a fun little adventure.
The vegetables vary according to whatever produce I might have around, but this is the basic outline I work from.
Use whatever you have, but try and have some onions, mushrooms and root veggies, don't worry if it's not quite 2 cups of this or 1 cup of that.
Contrary to what you may have read though, peelings and scraps aren't the best thing to use for broth. As with everything else you make, use the best tasting ingredients you can get ahold of; it will make the final product so much better.
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.
While onions are cooking, place the herbs and peppercorns in a tea-ball, or a piece of cheesecloth and tie with twine to make a sachet; this makes removing them much easier.

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".

5 comments:

coldandsleepy said...

Yum... I love homemade vegetable broth. So tasty, and so fun to make. I make it with stored up produce scraps and onions and whatever else is around. Little of this, little of that.

MeShell said...

It is so worth making vegetable stock at home, so much tastier than the cubes of mystery.

Celeste said...

Not boring at all! I'm about to harvest the last of my garden, and now I've got a recipe to make some delicious broth for a soup base. Thanks!

I love you blog, and am looking forward to more delicious recipes!

Courtney said...

Not boring--very important! I love that you posted this. Sure, store bought stock/broth powder will work, but making your own is so. much. BETTER! So good :-)

Courtney

Jessica said...

I've never made broth from anything but frozen veggie scraps. I just can't get past the idea that it's "wasting" the veggies. I think I'll try a compromise and throw some mushrooms and Vegemite in next time, because those are elements not usually included in my scraps, and they sound like a great addition.