Vegetable stock (or broth) is really very simple to make, and it's great to have on hand for soups or stews. The broth also makes an excellent cooking liquid for rice or risotto, grits, polenta, barley, lentils, or quinoa. And vegetable broth is a must for vegetarian dishes.
One of the main benefits of making your own vegetable stock is that you can make it without salt or with very little salt. And there are absolutely no preservatives to worry about. Rinse or scrub the vegetables, but there's no need to peel any of them. The peels will add more color and flavor.
Leeks, parsnips, a sprig of thyme, a fennel bulb, a potato, romaine lettuce leaves, or a tablespoon of tomato paste are some other possibilities for vegetables. Use just about any vegetable you like to flavor the broth. Keep a bag in the freezer for vegetable scraps or herbs and vegetables past their prime. When it's full, make broth!
- 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
- 2 medium onions (unpeeled, quartered)
- 4 to 6 green onions (chopped)
- 3 carrots (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 8 ribs celery (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic (unpeeled, halved)
- 8 ounces mushrooms (scrubbed and halved or sliced)
- 1 large tomato (stem removed, chopped)
- 6 to 8 sprigs of parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 quarts water
- Optional: kosher salt (to taste)
- In a stockpot or large Dutch oven or kettle, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables begin to show some color. Browning gives the broth depth of flavor.
- Add the green onions, chopped tomato, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Pour the cold water overall. The water should be about 1 to 2 inches above the vegetables, so add more if necessary.
- Bring the stock mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until flavorful.
- Remove the vegetables to a bowl and strain the liquids through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve or bouillon strainer, then put the solids in the strainer and press to get as much of the liquid out as possible. At this point, if you want your broth to be concentrated, put the strained stock it back in the pot and simmer or boil to reduce more.
- Add salt, to taste, if desired.
- Pour the stock into freezer containers. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days or cool the stock and freeze for up to 3 months.
- If you freeze the stock, leave at least 1 inch of headspace, especially if you use wide-mouth glass jars. Add another 1/2-inch or more if you use the shouldered narrow-top jars. Liquids expand as they freeze, so glass jars can crack or break if there isn't enough headspace. Better safe than sorry!
Some Recipes Using Vegetable Broth or Stock
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||3 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||2 g|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g|