Simple vegetable stock

|Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 1 hour 10 min|Vegetable Soup Stock 2

Yields approximately 1500ml

Soup stock is the foundation of all soups. Although simple, it is not something to be made halfheartedly. Stock needs to be robust and complex without overpowering the flavour of whatever soup you intend to use it in. It needs to compliment your soup and not detract from it.

Approach your stock with the aforementioned in mind. Depending on what you plan on using your stock for, you may wish to add or remove some ingredients. Regardless, the basic flavours come from olive oil, onions, celery, and carrots – mirepoix in French cuisine.

If you want to fortify the body of your stock further, you could try adding some broccoli to sweeten your stock. Potatoes will add a starchy body. If you’re looking for some more flavour notes, add some fresh garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, or basil. Dark soy sauce is also a pleasant option, but I often add this when making the soup if necessary, so I keep it out of my stocks.

Whatever you do, I have one word of caution: don’t just use ‘leftover’ fruits and vegetables to make your stock like so many people suggest. Fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables are always best. It will keep the flavour of your stock predictable.

Time now for a shameless plug: if you’re looking for a nice, rich stew to cut the cold, try my chocolate beer beef stew. This stock is also a great base for my curried kabocha soup!

Ingredients

  • 1~2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 carrots*
  • 3 celery stocks
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1500 ml water
  • 6~8 shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of garlic, shucked
  • 2 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper corns

* Keep the skins on both the carrots and the onions. They add more body and colour to the stock. Also, all vegetables are coarsely chopped.

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over a medium flame.
  2. Add the onions and start to brown them.
  3. As the onions begin to brown and turn transparent, add the carrots and celery to the mix. Sauté until the carrots begin to soften.
  4. Once they begin to soften, add the water, remaining vegetables, and seasoning. Bring this mixture to a simmer.
  5. Simmer covered for at least one hour. Adjust as necessary.
  6. Let the stock cool slightly and then pour it through a strainer. There are more juices locked in the vegetables, so you will need to strain them as well by scooping them into a colander and mashing them well with a potato masher.
  7. You can now portion and freeze the soup stock. I usually freeze it in 500 ml portions. For small recipes, you may wish to make some mini stock reserves in an ice cube tray.
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