Simple Vegetable Stock

Many savory recipes -- whether vegetarian or with meat -- call for the use of stock or water as a liquid ingredient. Adding stock contributes more flavor to the final dish than adding water. Choose stock to add that extra layer of flavor and deliver a more complex and tasty final outcome.

Commercial stock is readily available, with a variety of choices besides the over salted standard in the can. Low salt, all vegetable, mushroom and organic stocks can be found on the soup or natural food aisle of any grocery.

We prefer to make our own simple vegetable stock. It's a quick and easy way to use up trimmings and odd pieces left in the refrigerator bin. It's also another way to cut down on waste if you don't compost.

tips for making vegetable stock and recipe after the jump

A basic vegetarian stock recipe calls for onion, celery, carrot and a bouquet garni. Create a bouquet garni with springs of fresh parsley, thyme, a dried bay leaf, a few cloves of garlic and peppercorns if you like, tied together with kitchen string. Other vegetable ingredients can be added to ramp up flavor and enrich the stock. We like leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, tomatoes, and leafy greens. If you have dried mushrooms, soak them first and strain the liquid, the liquid can be added as another ingredient in your stock or used as stock on its own.

Save your vegetable trimmings during the week to make vegetable stock. A simple stock only takes 30 minutes to 1 hour to prepare. Don't use spoiled vegetables or trimmings that you wouldn't eat. Avoid vegetables that give off a bitter taste or ones that color the stock, like beets. (Unless you are making beet soup!)

Simple Vegetable Stock
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and rough chopped
2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 celery ribs, rough chopped
Additional vegetable trimmings: mushrooms, leafy greens, tomato-seeded,
parsnip, scallions, shallots, zucchini, fennel, green beans, leeks (2- 4 cups total)
2-teaspoons sea salt
8-10 cups cold water

Bouquet Garni
6 sprigs fresh parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 dried bay leaves

1.In a large stockpot over medium high heat, heat olive oil
2.Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until soft and lightly browned
3.Add vegetable trimmings and cook until soft and wilted
4.Salt the vegetables and add the bouquet garni to the pot
5.Add the water and bring the stock to a boil,
6.With a slotted spoon strain off foam
7.Lower the heat and simmer the stock 30 minutes to 1 hour
8.Strain the vegetables and bouquet garni.

Flavor enhancers for stock: soy sauce, tomato paste, nutritional yeast,
Miso, dried seaweed (Kombu), rind from Parmesan cheese.

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