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Basic Vegetable Stock

September 23, 2012

One of my favourite things to do on a weekend morning is to get a stock simmering on the stove. I like how easy it is. I like that you just get it started, and then it takes care of itself. I like that it can lead to so many good things. I like how it makes the house smell like the potential for any of those good things is in the air.

Stock comes in two varieties in our household: fish and vegetable. We’ve dealt with one already, so here are a few tips on what’s probably the easiest thing you could ever hope to prepare. But it’s very much worth it to make your own vegetable stock: it always tastes better than the bland stuff from the store; it helps use up extra vegetables in the fridge; and you can customize it for the season or soup you hope to make.

You can put just about any vegetable in there. Having said that,  I don’t think I’d try to boil a pepper. Sweet potatoes and squashes make nice additions. You can also add different spices and seasonings to suit. I’ll often make an Indian-spiced stock by adding a cinnamon stick, some cardamom pods and some star anise.

For a richer stock, you can purée some or all of the vegetables after you’re done cooking. I wouldn’t do this with, say, celery, put puréed potatoes can add a lot to the stock. For this reason, I’ll often peel the potatoes and then include the potatoes while the stock is cooking. Generally, you don’t need to peel vegetables for your stock, just rinse and chop.

Basic Vegetable Stock

1 onion, quartered and peeled
3 cloves garlic, crushed under the flat of a knife and peeled
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped, peels reserved
bay leaf
2 whole cloves
several peppercorns
pinch of salt

1. Combine all ingredients (including potato peels) in a large Dutch oven along with about 3-1/2 litres (a little less than a gallon) cold water. Bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or so. Remove from heat. Strain through a colander, or if you’re feeling fancy, through a colander and cheesecloth. If you like, return some of the vegetables (potatoes, carrots) to the stock and purée with an immersion blender.

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From → Food, Ingredients, Recipes

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