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Basic Vegetable Stock

05 May

Making a stock is simple and really gives soup a richer flavor – full bodied and lush.  Stocks are the foundation for a great tasting soup, and you can use them for making risotto, cooking other grains, and even sautéing vegetables for that extra boost!  It doesn’t take long to make, and is well worth the extra effort.  You can keep stock in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

2 carrots
2 celery ribs with leaves
8 parsley stems
a few thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves
1-2 allspice berries and 4-5 peppercorns (optional)
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1 onion and/or 1-2 cups leeks trimmings


1. Chop everything roughly into large, bite-size pieces. In addition to the basic ingredients, you can include clean trimmings from the vegetables you are using in your soup, risotto, or whatever you’re making, such as celery root skins, mushroom stems, etc.  Avoid using strong, aggressive vegetables such as broccoli, mustard greens, turnips, and parsnips. Add the trimmings to the stock as you are doing your cutting and slicing. If the recipe calls for an herb, add a few sprigs of the herb to your stock as well.  The more vegetable matter you use, the more flavor.

2. For a light stock, bring the vegetables, 2 quarts COLD filtered water (you may need more depending on the amount of vegetables you are using), and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes. For a slightly more robust stock, sauté the vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil to brown them first, which gives them color as well as additional flavor, then add water and salt. You can also roast the vegetables first on a baking sheet in a 375-400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to slightly brown and color, then add to your water to cook.

When the stock is done, I always taste before removing from the stove, to make sure the flavors are the strength I want.  Strain immediately. If you want to reduce it, do so after straining.

Makes about 6 cups

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