Vegetable Stock Two Ways
Last week I showed you how to make your own chicken stock two different ways (a basic stock and a pressure cooked one) and now I have an even easier stock, a homemade vegetable stock! The coolest part about making your own, aside from the fact that store bought vegetable stock is expensive, is that you can add whatever vegetables you like most. You can even draw flavors from parts of vegetables you’d normally throw away like tops of onions, the bad ends of asparagus, the stems of parsley, etc. so you save a lot of waste too. I keep a container in our freezer and I add scraps like these to it… that way when it’s time to make stock I just pop it out of the freezer and in to the pot! You can get as mild as you like with a vegetable stock but you can also get a really intense flavor by adding things like dried mushrooms. Try adding leeks to make it more sweet or mushrooms for an earthier flavor but avoid stronger vegetables like artichokes, cabbage, spinach, broccoli or cauliflower because these will make your stock bitter. I’ll show you a very basic vegetable stock in a stock pot and then an even faster on in the pressure cooker, each one yields just over 2 quarts of stock.
Heat 3 tbsp light olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 white onion that’s been chopped and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Sauté these for about 10-12 minutes until the onion is a golden brown (1) then add in 2 ribs of celery and 2 carrots that have been cut into 2″ pieces. Don’t peel the carrot or remove the celery stalk’s leaves, these will add more flavor. Also add in 1 tsp whole black peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves (I added some chopped mushrooms too) (2). Cook these for about 10 minutes until lightly brown and tender… if you can get them right on the verge of caramelization you can get the most intense flavor from your stock (3). Add 10 cups water, 8 sprigs flat leaf parsley, 8 sprigs basil, a bunch of fresh thyme and 3/4 tsp salt (4). Raise the heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer… there’s no need to worry about this stock clouding like the chicken stock since there’s no fat. Simmer for an hour (5) and strain through a metal sieve. You don’t need a cheesecloth for this and you can use the back of a spoon to push as much liquid through as possible (6). Transfer to containers and use within 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
Vegetable stock only simmers for an hour normally but if you want to speed up the process even more, you can use a pressure cooker (check out this post to get all the info about mine). Start the same way as above, heat your oil, cook your onions then add your veggies, bay leaf and peppercorns (1). Cook until on the verge of caramelization (2) then add your water, aromatics and salt then stir (3), put on your lid and bring your cooker up to pressure. Keep at a medium pressure for 30 minutes and fully release the pressure before opening the cooker (5). You can see that cooking the stock this way yields a much lighter colored stock (6) but since it’s been cooked under pressure it actually has a much bolder flavor.
Try making these recipes using your homemade stock: