I love making my own homemade chicken stock, but it requires hours of cooking bones on low heat in order to extract all the goodness from the bones. Not so for vegetable stock; with no bones to cook, you simply need a good variety of vegetables and herbs and with very little preparation, it will pretty much take care of itself once on the stove. In less than an hour the vegetables have done their job and you are left with a nutritious and flavourful stock. You can use many different vegetables to make the stock; the perfect vehicle to use up the ones almost on their way to the compost. But I do recommend staying away from starchy ones like potatoes, or strongly flavoured ones like parsnip or cabbage and broccoli which can overpower the stock. Mushrooms are among my favourite to add since they are full of immune-boosting health benefits and also impart lovely umami-type flavours to your stock. Now that it’s soup season, you will love having this simple, quick and easy recipe for vegetable stock.
- 2 medium onions unpeeled and quartered
- 3 celery stalks cut into large chunks
- 2 large carrots unpeeled, cut into large chunks
- 8 ounces crimini or button mushrooms halved if large
- 1 small fennel bulb cut into large chunks
- 1 leek or tops of a leek, washed thoroughly and cut into large chunks
- 4-6 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 quarts cold water
- Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let cool a bit.
- Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pushing against the vegetables to extract additional liquid. Discard the solids.
- Let cool completely, then transfer into clean containers.
- Store in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.