veggie stock

February 28, 2010

vgourmet, Ruth Richardson, veggie stock, soup stock, vegan stock, vegetable stock

I’m making the Potato Leek Soup right now (as promised to my 8-year-old, Sammy, last night, based on his adorable comment). I realize as I wait for the soup to simmer away that I should also give you my stock recipe. There is probably nothing as comforting as the smell of veggie stock simmering away on the stove. The aroma fills the house with its age-old medicinal power to cure what ails you.

Stock recipes don’t vary much across the board but the original idea for this one in particular came from a cooking class I took at Harvest Restaurant with Chef Michael Potters. He sautés the veggies before adding water. I don’t. I just stick it all in a big pot and let it stew away. He also adds wine at the end which I don’t. For me the jury is still out on that one. I know a lot  of chefs who roast their veggies beforehand which gives the stock a deeper flavour and a bit more sweetness. However you decide to make it, make a huge batch in a big stock pot and then freeze it in different size containers. I love having stock around for soup, risotto, paella, or just cooking vegetables stove-top. I’ve come to believe that it’s one thing you should never buy because there is no comparison between home-made and store-bought stock. Freeze it in large containers (for soups etc.) and small (ice-cube trays for sautéed veggies). Use liberally.

12 cups cold water

2 medium onions (any colour), peeled and quartered

6 medium young sweet carrots, chopped in large chunks

4 celery stalks, chopped in large chunks

4 leeks, topped and chopped in half

8 unpeeled garlic cloves

2 small bulbs fennel, quartered

1 large bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, oregano, other robust herbs of choice)

20 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

Put water in a heavy, large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. As the water is coming to a boil, clean and chop onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and fennel. Add them to the water.

Next add the garlic, bouquet garni, peppercorns, and bay leaves.  Once water reaches a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 10 – 20 minutes, skimming the surface of the stock to eliminate residue.

If you want to add some wine, add a cup or so and let it simmer for an additional 10 minutes. If not, turn off the heat and let the stock cool before straining out the vegetables. The stock will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge, or can be packed into containers and stored for several weeks in the freezer.

12 Responses to “veggie stock”

  1. mary richardson Says:

    ok, I have a question/issue about stock, which I hardly ever make: it always seems almost immoral to me to take all those lovely veg and let them stew, then throw them away. Or do you have another way to use them afterwards? I always think “why not just put more veg in the soup and assume that you have the flavours you need, plus not ‘waste’ any beautiful fresh veggies?” I know that real chefs will say that the stock gives great flavour to all sorts of dishes, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. In fact, I realize that I only think of making stock with bones (from organically-raised animals) (NOT very vegan!).

    • I totally appreciate where you’re coming from but do I have a solution (or partial solution) for you!! Andrew and I have started saving veggie-off-cuts, like the tops of fennel, and the outer most parts of leeks, etc. We just have a “stock bag” going in the freezer and add things to it as we go along. This doesn’t completely address your dilemma – you may still need to add a few carrots, more decent onion etc. but it’s worth it. Honestly! Stock is powerful. Subtle. Yummy. Medicinal. Also, with veggie stock you don’t need to stew the life out of the vegetables – even a 15 minute simmer will do so you could bag, freeze, and reuse your veggies.

  2. […] Don’t cut corners. Use good olive oil. Buy really nice, organic leeks, make some home-made vegetable stock. You’ll thank […]

  3. […] gems in there that can easily be vegan-ized. This soup is one of them. Olive oil instead of butter; veggie stock instead of chicken stock; you’re good to […]

  4. […] 2 cups veggie stock […]

  5. jillfrances Says:

    Hi there,

    Just curious about the measurements of vegetables for the stock… I’m clearly not much of a math whiz, but 3 and 4 oz doesn’t seem like very much veg for 3 quarts of water… can you tell me appx. how many carrots, celery stalks and bulbs of fennel that would translate to?

    With thanks, LOVE this site!

    • Jill,
      Thank you for this and I take your point. I copied this recipe from Michael Potters, as noted, but I think I can improve on it and, besides which, I’ve kind of made it my own anyway. Tomorrow I’m going to update it but for now, I would suggest 12 cups water, 2 onions, 6 medium carrots, 4 celery stalks, 4 leeks, 2 small fennel bulbs, 8 cloves of garlic. The rest I think is the same. I don’t add wine but you can, or you can experiment with half to see what you like. I make a HUGE batch and freeze it in different sized containers for soups, sautes, risotto, basically everything. And thanks for the shout-out. I’m so glad you love the site. I love hearing that you love the site.
      Muchas gracias,

  6. Jill,
    One more thing about the measurements. There’s a whole chef thing about using weight-based measurements instead of volumetric ones. I get it. The weight-based measurements are more accurate and consistent. BUT, most of us aren’t set up that way with scales in our kitchen and a calculator on hand to translate cookbooks. v:gourmet is into accessibility – it’s got to be easy for people, and enjoyable, and stress-free. So I really appreciate your question to remind me to ensure all my recipes are as straightforward as possible. I’ve made the necessary changes above and will be cheering you on in your stock-making pursuits. Enjoy, but beware, it can become addictive!

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