A good vegetable stock is useful in a huge variety of dishes. Vegetable stock is not only an excellent substitute for chicken stock, but is ideal used in all vegetarian fare.
2 large onions
2 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
1 whole bulb garlic
1 bay leaf
1,5 litres water
Cut a peeled and halved onion into large chunks
Remove and discard the leaves from the celery stalks
Slice the celery into large pieces
Peel and chop the carrots into large pieces
Break up the whole bulb of garlic into individual cloves and peel, there is no need to chop the garlic
Once all of your ingredients have been prepared, combine them in a stockpot large enough to contain all of the ingredients (including enough water to cover all of the vegetables)
Add peppercorns and bay leaf to the vegetable medley
Turn the stove to a high temperature, and bring the stock to a quick simmer
Once the water has begun to boil, turn the stove down to low
Allow the vegetables to simmer for an hour, any longer than an hour and the vegetables will begin to turn mushy and begin to lose all their flavourful vibrance, lending a wilted taste to the stock.
Strain your stock while the stock is at its peak (about an hour after it was placed on the stove)
Strain your stock through a fine mesh straining device, cheesecloth placed in a colander would also work well
The stock should be light in colour, sweet, and translucent.
In order for the stock to take on all of the flavours of the vegetables in it, it will need to simmer for a full hour. Because of the long simmering time, it’s best to chop the vegetables into large chunks rather than small dice
Celery leaves, especially those on the outside of the bunch, are extremely bitter and should not be added to the stock
If you would like to preserve more of the carrot’s natural nutrients, do not peel it as the nutrients are in the carrot’s skin. Instead, scrub the carrot under cold running water, then chop the carrot into large pieces
Use a full bulb of garlic as it is the base flavour in vegetable stock
If you want a darker coloured stock, caramelize the onions and carrots before placing them in the stockpot.
Alternately, roast the vegetables until caramelized, then add them to the stockpot.
Add fresh, peeled ginger for an Asian recipe.
Often people also add herbs or scraps leftover from other dishes. Potato scraps can be added as the starch will help thicken the stock a little. Other common additions are stems from herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary
Another interesting tip to making a delicious and thick vegetable stock is to use potato water that was strained from mashed potatoes in addition to (or instead of) water.
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