One of the fundamentals of cooking is to have a good and flavorful stock. Although it’s convenient to buy stock, most commercial brands are either too salty or sweet, very dark in color, or simply don’t taste all that good. I like to make my stock fairly neutral in flavor so it’s versatile enough to work in a variety of dishes. Think of it as an all-purpose vegetable stock to use in vegetable ragouts, soups, sauces, grains, pastas, etc. A good stock should enhance whatever you’re making, not overwhelm it.
Vegetable stock is so simple to make. First, preparing your mise-en-place is super easy. Then, simply chop up a few vegetables, gather herbs, cover with water, simmer for about an hour, and you’re done. Exact proportions on vegetables are not very important. Just keep in mind it’s better to go lightly on sweeter vegetables like carrots and onions. At times, for added flavor and body to the stock, I add a large (about 4-inches) piece of Kombu, dried seaweed. Note, the saltiness of the seaweed varies, be mindful of this if/when adding salt to your stock.
It’s great to make your own stock, but if you’re pressed for time and have to buy vegetable stock, buy the best tasting stock you can afford. Read labels to make sure the one you select does not contain excess sodium, artificial junk, or MSG.
See more of making vegetable stock and preparing your mise-en-place for stock on Snapchat, ptworldcitizen.
2 carrots, halved or quartered
2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
2 fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, halved or quartered
1 onion, halved or quartered
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed or chop
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 small bunch parsley stalks (10-15 sprigs)
5-10 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 gallon or more water.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Add enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, add Kombu (if using), and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow the stock to steep for about 15 minutes.
Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the stock. Discard the solids. Salt, if using. The stock is ready to use. When cool enough, store stock in airtight jars/containers.