Vegetable stock is a staple in any vegetarian kitchen. I use it all the time as a base for soups, stews and risottos. Rather than relying on the often high sodium store bought versions, why not see how easy it is to make your own vegetable stock at home!
Vegetable stock is very forgiving, and very adaptable. This is less of a recipe, and more of a starting point. You don’t need to buy vegetables especially for the purpose of making vegetable stock. You could save up all the offcuts of veg you are using day to day, pop it in a bag in the freezer and make some stock when you have enough.
In terms of how much water to add, once you have chopped all your vegetables and put them in a large pot, you should add enough water so that you can easily stir the vegetables in the pot with no resistance. If you always look for this point when you are making vegetable stock, you will be able to scale this recipe up or down as needed.
In my version, I used:
3 Celery Sticks
2 White Onions
4 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
4 Sprigs of Fresh Parsley
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Bay Leaf
Approximately 2 litres of water
Altogether, this yielded around 1.5 litres of vegetable stock.
Carrots, onions and celery make a good base for any vegetable stock. From there you could add any other vegetables you like. For example mushrooms, tomatoes, parsnips and peppers (all colours) all work well in a stock. They will each bring a different flavour to the stock, so stick with flavours you enjoy. The fresh herbs add a nice woodiness and fragrance to the stock which lifts it nicely.
To make the Vegetable Stock
1. Thoroughly wash all the vegetables. We aren’t going to peel them so make sure they are extra clean. Chop all the vegetables into 1/2 inch chunks.
2. Add some olive oil into a large pot and heat over a medium heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 5-10 minutes until they begin to soften. This step serves to intensify the flavours in your stock even more. Once the vegetables begin to soften, cover the vegetables with water until you are easily able to stir them around. The more water you add, the less concentrated your stock will be, so add less water if you want a stronger vegetable stock.
3. Add in any fresh herbs you are using, along with 5-10 peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set the heat to low and let simmer for 1-2 hours.
4. Strain to remove all the vegetables. Store the stock in an airtight tub in the fridge for up to 1 week, or alternatively, freeze it in portions in ziplock bags so you can conveniently pull some out to use as you need it.
Once you have made vegetable stock at home and realise how easy it is, you will never buy the store bought version again. It’s something you can rustle up so easily and keep on hand all the time. Keep your vegetable offcuts in the freezer ready to make a stock as soon as you have enough!