Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vegetable Stock

Tonight I'm making a "building block" - a recipe not necessarily meant to stand on its own, but which I will use over the next few nights in other recipes.  Homemade vegetable stock is surprisingly easy (requiring mostly hands-off simmer time), and much better for you than store-bought stock, which tends to be high in sodium.  This version gets a subtle, almost sweet hint from parsnips.  I love watching the transformation of water into broth, and the series of photos in this post will attest to that process, from clear water loaded with fresh veggies, to a lightly golden liquid midway, to the deep-gold final product.

  • 12 cups water
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsnip
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 whole garlic head, cut in half
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. 

2. Reduce heat and simmer anywhere from 1 hour to 90 minutes, until reduced to 6 cups.

3. Strain the stock through a sieve over a large bowl, and discard the solids.

I made two batches of stock today, so it's on hand for future recipes.  Go ahead and do the same; leftover stock will keep in the fridge up to a week, but can be frozen up to 3 months.

Stay tuned for more posts using this stock soon.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 cup), Calories 8

Tasting Notes:
I did a little taste test of the broth alone; the mushroom flavor was the strongest, giving this a woodsy sort of taste, followed by the celery.  There was just a touch of sweetness from the parsnip, but surprisingly little garlic or bay (I popped the most beautiful smelling bay leaves into the pot, so that was a shame).  Nicely fresh though, and - to state the obvious - very homemade tasting.


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