Monday, 7 February 2011

A note on vegetable stock

Vegetable stock is a hard one to get right, but once you've got the hang of it it's brilliant.  I made mine using the following:

  • 1 litre water
  • Pepper (NOT salt)
  • 2 x onions
  • 3 x leeks
  • 5 x carrots
  • 2 x celery sticks
  • 3 x mushrooms
  • 8 (yes 8) x whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 2 x bay leaves
  • Parsley sprig
This was what I had to hand, but I recommend saving veg trimmings in a bag in the freezer so that you can make a nice stock with it at some point in the future.

Roughly chop up all your veg and fry it (including all the trimmings, skin etc) in a heavy-based pan.  When the oniony stuff has all gone soft, add the tinned tomatoes.  Break them down a bit and then add the water, the bay leaves, the parsley sprig and a little bit of pepper.  Bring it to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for about half an hour, skimming scum from the surface every now and then.  Strain it into a jug and let it cool, then put it in the fridge (where it will keep for a few days) or put it in the freezer (where it will keep for a few months).

Your stock will probably be a light browny colour.  Don't be put off if it doesn't taste quite as strong as ready-made stock - this is because you haven't put any salt in.  And the reason you haven't put any salt in is that you will use this stock in recipes in which you will add salt so there's no point adding it now - you will only run the risk of making your recipes too salty.

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