Vegetable stock is a staple around our house because it forms the basis for many of the soups we make, and I swap vegetable stock for chicken stock in almost anything. Most of the time I can make vegetable stock from ingredients that I have on hand, though occasionally I’ll have to buy some leeks to go into it since I tend to use those up rather quickly.
Because I stick with whatever is in the vegetable bin, the flavor of my stock changes a little each time, but I have a list of basic ingredients that almost always go in the pot.
Making stock is very simple, you just clean and chunk some vegetables or use leftover vegetable scraps from the week, add some herbs and peppercorns, put it all in a pot and cover with water, then bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. Strain and keep in the refrigerator or freezer. To keep the herbs and peppercorns all together in the pot, you can even make a little bag out of cheesecloth and kitchen twine. Some people recommend pressing the cooked vegetables to extract more flavor, and I do that quite often, however if you prefer a very clear stock for certain dishes, you may want to avoid pressing because I’ve noticed that pressing tends to cloud and even darken the stock a bit.
So this post is not quite a recipe, but more of a list of ideas for ingredients. It is also my contribution to Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging event, which is celebrating it’s second birthday! Congratulations to Kalyn for two great years, and thanks to Pille of Nami Nami for hosting this week. Be sure to check out Pille’s lovely blog when she posts the round-up on October 29.
[Updated January 2014.]
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 bulb garlic, peeled
- 2 leeks, white and lite green parts only, scrubbed clean, cut into large chunks
- 2 carrots, scrubbed clean, cut into large chunks
- 2 stalks celery, cleaned, cut into large chunks (leaves optional)
- 2 potatoes, scrubbed clean, quartered (The starch adds a little richness.)
- 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- sprigs of thyme
- sprigs of parsley
- OTHER INGREDIENTS TO TRY
- 2 dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 lemon zest strips
- 1 medium turnip, scrubbed and quartered
- 10 green beans, cleaned and cut into large pieces
- 2 or 3 medium tomatoes (adds strong flavor and color)
- 5 or 6 chives
- 2 or 3 lettuce leaves
- 1 apple or pear, scrubbed and quartered
- 4 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 sweet potato, scrubbed and quartered
- 2 to 3 large slices of ginger (great for an Asian-style stock)
- Prepare all of the ingredients and put into the bottom of an 8-quart pot. Add water to cover, until the pot is about 2/3 full.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Strain out the vegetables and herbs, then refrigerate or freeze the stock in 16 or 32 ounce containers.
1 (8-quart) pot with a lid (or a 6-quart slow cooker)
You can also cook the stock overnight in a slow-cooker, just turn it on low before going to bed. Cool and strain the next day.
Other Recipes for Vegetable Stock
- Cream Puffs in Venice – Taking Stock
- Care2.com – How to Make a Perfect Vegetable Stock
- AllRecipes.com – Making Vegetable Stock
- VideoJug.com – How to Make Vegetable Stock (video)