Vegetable stock is so easygoing. It accepts your leftovers, your fading-fast vegetables and herbs, and turns them into a flavorful vitamin-packed elixir in about 20 minutes, without a single complaint.
Traditionally, vegetable stock is made from onions, carrots, celery, bay, parsley and sometimes parsnip. But these days anything goes. Try a base of carrots, celery and onions, and then add fennel, cabbage, zucchini or your favorite vegetable.
The secret to extracting the most flavor from each ingredient is surface area. Roughly chop vegetables and herbs, and crush spices before adding them to the pot. It can be made completely fat-free by adding vegetables directly to the water. Or for a deeper flavor in your vegetable stock, use a minimal amount of heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil to briefly saute aromatics and vegetables.
Used in place of water, this quick vegetable stock adds lots of easy flavor to organic brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, polenta, soups, stews and can replace chicken or beef stock to keep recipes vegetarian and vegan.
Vegetable stock recipe
Serves 10 to 12
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 quarts water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion; cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about four minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and crushed red pepper. Add carrots and celery; cook four additional minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water. Bring to boiling; reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat; strain liquid through a colander into a large non-porous container. Reserve vegetables; set aside. Divide stock into manageable portions and freeze or refrigerate. Do not store in plastic containers (freezer bags are OK, glass is best), which will transfer off-putting flavors to the stock. Refrigerate up to seven days or freeze up to two months.
- Use reserved cooked vegetables in salads, soups or other recipes.
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