In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t use much vegetable stock. It’s always kind of reminded me of dirty dish water and frankly I didn’t think it tasted much better. And FORGET the boxed stuff, they might as well call it “Liquid Salt”, correction “Orange Colored Liquid Salt”. I’ve said before that I’m not big into meat, but I do love homemade chicken broth. Makes me all warm and tingly AND anything I make with it is all the tastier for it. However, I have no business writing a soup blog if I don’t put my heart into learning how to make, not just passable, but really good vegetable stock. It’s taken a while but these days you can find me swooning over vegetable stock as one might say chocolate cake, or in my case a rotisserie chicken stock.
There are three keys to fabulous vegetable stock. First and foremost use seasonal vegetables as they will be freshest produce available and the flavors will compliment the seasonal dishes being prepared in your kitchen. Two, sauté your vegetables in order to coax out their flavors. Lastly, use a parchment lid to trap precious liquid and sinfully sweat your vegetables to sweet deliciousness. Yes, your vegetarian friends will love you for it, but even chicken stock devotees like myself will surprisingly find themselves keeping a reserve in the freezer.
Consider customizing the vegetables to your preference, but beware of using produce that has a strong, overpowering presence like cabbage, tomatoes or big meaty mushrooms. You’ll find vegetable stock is a whole lot easier to make than beef or even chicken broth, but because it has a delicate flavor it will lose its flavor nuances very quickly, so you’ll want to use it within 24 hours or freeze for future use.
- 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 TBSP unsalted butter
- 4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small celery root, peeled and medium chop
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and medium chop
- 4 large garlic cloves, skins removed and smashed
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and medium chop
- 20 sprigs of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 TBSP kosher salt
- ½ ounce dried chanterelle mushrooms, crumbled
- 3 quarts filtered water
- In large stockpot (I used a 6 quart) heat oil and butter over medium heat.
- Add carrots, parsnips, fennel, celery root, mushrooms, onion, garlic and salt. Stir to ensure everything is evenly coated with oil.
- Cover with a round of parchment paper that you cut to accommodate the size of your pot.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add the water and herbs and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Barely simmer for 45 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids.
- Use immediately, freeze or cool and refrigerate for use within 24 hours.
- Yields 2-3 quarts.