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 broth for certain dishes, you may want to avoid pressing because I've noticed that pressing tends to cloud and even darken it 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.]
- 1 (8-quart) pot with a lid (or a 6-quart slow cooker)
- 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 ⅔ 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.
- 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.
Recipes with Vegetable Stock
Other Recipes for Vegetable Stock
What a great idea to add leeks. I never thought of that before! I love to make stock; to me it just feels like getting free food!
This looks great to me, that would go well with a risotto huh? 🙂
Andrea, this looks like an excellent veggie stock recipe. I've only made chicken stock, so will try it using your recipe. That is a gorgeous photo, too.
T.W. Barritt says
I like the idea of adding porcini, apples or cloves. That would make for some great flavor combinations.
Thanks everyone!! I just realized that I forgot to add ginger slices in the Other Ingredients list, which makes a nice addition for an Asian-flavored stock.
Cris: You crack me up! Chef Gray's stock was very clear, like a white wine, so I would have to leave out a few ingredients to achieve that. But it was tasty in that risotto... Yum! 🙂
Andrea - thank you for your WHB entry! I've only recently started making my own stock, and there really is such a flavour difference. This is very helpful.
Gift of Green says
Thanks for the detailed instructions. I think even a non-cook like me could do this! 🙂
What a great post. I love making vege stocks, and will make Asian inspired ones and Indian inspired ones as well. Keeping them in the freezer is just the thing for soups, risottos and paellas. I have never thought of using apple before. Must try it.
De in D.C. says
I just started checking out your food blog, and I like what I see! I wanted to comment on making veggie broth. A couple months ago, I started saving all of my vegetable scraps (onion ends, carrot and potato peelings, etc) and freezing them together. Then I'll use those as the basis for making stock along with some dried mushrooms and spices. I used to just add everything to the compost pile, but feel that I'm getting even more bang for my buck this way. The batches do vary, but I tend to cook a large variety of vegetables, so no one flavor is overpowering. Except maybe carrot... heh.
Donna Gentle says
I would like to know why one would add apples or pears to a Stock. Could you please tell me the reason.
Thanks for asking, Donna. Apple and pear add a slight touch of sweetness which is really nice in some soups, such as pumpkin or squash.
thank you so very much andrea! i really loved your idea since it was really simple and it turned out ot be fine! again thank you!
This is a Great Recipe! As I am living in India, my stock had a lot more Indian flavor to it. I love using fresh mint leaves and curry leaves in my dishes. It added an additional interesting flavor. Before beginning the process, I sauteed the onions, garlic, ginger, and dried whole spices and fresh herba a little before I added the veggies and the water. It gave the stock a deep rich flavor to it.
Also, I found a good way to utilise the strained veggies! I coarsely minced them in the food processor and made cutlets out of them after adding a couple of flavourings. I kept some of this minced and flavored veggie in the fridge to make stuffed Parathas (Indian Tortillas made of whole wheat dough that is rolled out into tortillas and stuffed with any mixture, then rolled out again very gently and shallow fried in a big shallow saucepan).
trust me....my family loved the parathas too...and couldnt at all guess what they were made of!! 🙂
Thank you so much for posting this. I was always intrigued by a recipe in Isabel Allende's book, Aphrodite, but she neglected to say how much water to use. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so concerned. But I like the idea of having homemade stock on hand--the boxed or canned stuff just tastes funny.
STEVE SALLOOM says
An outstanding recipe. I loved it and you hooked me on it.
After boiling the stock, I left it rest for 24 hours, strained it, and used the broth as a basis in Lentil soup and Red Bean soup. Hmmm... Was that good or what?
How much would a prwan risotto flavour change if I use vegetable stock insted of chicken stock. I have not found a prawn risotto that uses anything less than chicken stock. My wife is a vegetarian (although she eats prams - go figure).
I know they are interchangable but will the flavour be that dramatically different
Hi Les. The taste will be somewhat different, but I've used vegetable stock in risottos and found them quite nice. You could also use a prawn stock, just don't cook it too long so the flavor doesn't overwhelm. Take some of the prawn shells and cook them in the amount of water required for the stock about 15 minutes, then strain.
I just made my first pot of vegetable stock. I have strained off veggies from broth and now i am wondering, do you throw away the veggies or can i use them to make soup, etc?
can this be used to cook stuff like couscous pasta or rice?
Yes you can! I just made some brown rice using stock that came from the previous nights scraps. I noticed a decimate difference from plain brown rice. I will be saving all by vegetable peals and scraps from now on. I'm a believer!