Homemade vegetable stock can completely elevate a dish. It’s easy to make and is a great way to use up scrap vegetables and avoid waste. At the body retreat we use a variety of vegetables in all our meals, throughout the week I try to keep the scraps to make stock, especially the ends of onion, celery, leek and carrot.
This recipe is a white stock, the method of covering the vegetables in cold water and bringing to boil. If you want to create a brown stock you need to brown the vegetables first either by roasting them in the oven or gently frying them in a pan with oil or butter first. This can create greater depth of flavour but a darker brown colour.
Vegetable stock will completely vary in flavour depending on what vegetables you use. Try and keep a base of onion, carrot and celery in relatively equal amounts to keep the flavour balanced. The standard aromatics are bay leaves, thyme, parsley stalks and peppercorns. Leeks, parsnips and celeriac also work well and fennel gives a lovely aniseed flavour. Tomatoes and mushrooms give an deeper umami flavour but the tomatoes seeds can be quite bitter so remove if you can.
Avoid using brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage) as they can give quite a sulphurous flavour. If you want to use greens them add in the last ten minutes of cooking otherwise you’ll end up with a bitter tasting stock. If you use pumpkin or potatoes they go very mushy and make the stock go cloudy.
You can leave on onion skins, or collect just the onion skins as part of the vegetable scraps, just make sure they are clean. This will give a browner colour to the stock.
Makes 1 litre of Stock
1 large onion (or 2 small)
2 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2-4 parsley stalks
Method for Vegetable Stock:
- Grate or finely chop vegetables. Put in a pan with the other ingredients and fill the pan with water so the vegetables are covered by a centimetre or two of water.
- Put the pan on a medium high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling drop the temperature to low and leave to simmer for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
- Take off the heat and strain through a fine sieve of muslin.
- If using the stock straight away without reducing it you can season the with salt. Otherwise leave to cool completely, fridge or put into a bag to easily store in the freezer.
Vegetable stock should keep on the fridge for a week or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Stocks aren’t just for soups! Beans, lentils, quinoa and rice are tastier cooked in stock.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for how to use your vegetable stock try some of our recipes; beetroot speltotto, leek and white bean soup, roasted pepper and sweet potato soup, leek, bacon & chicken Lenotto, green immune boosting soup.
Or cook the lentils in the vegetable stock for the lentil, tomato and green bean salad or quinoa and beetroot salad.