Saturday, June 2, 2012

Basics 101: Vegetable Stock

How's everybody's weekend going so far? Ours has been quite relaxing, although I do end up going back to work today (I've had the last 3 days off work, and they were definitely needed!).

A good stock, whether it be chicken, beef, or vegetable, can be the basis for many great dishes and sauces.  I actually prefer a vegetable stock over the animal-based because 1) it's the easiest, 2) it's the quickest, and 3) it's the cheapest!

You can definitely use a variety of vegetable combinations, but don't think that more is always better.  Sometimes you can even just use a handful of vegetables and it will turn out great.  If you try to incorporate too many vegetables though, you'll end up with something that's not versatile enough for you to use with everyday dishes.

Vegetables that I'd avoid using for vegetable stock would be asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and bitter greens.  These are strongly flavored and would overpower your stock if you wanted to make it all-purpose.  Also, starchy vegetables like potatoes should be avoided because they can cloud up your stock - unless clarity isn't an issue.  Then by all means, go for the potatoes!

I like the following formula because it has everyday vegetables that I usually have in my crisper drawer.  Feel free to change things up to develop a stock that's right for you!

(Makes 2 quarts)

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots
4 celery ribs
1 large onion
1 leek, washed
1 bulb of fennel, fronds cut off
1 large turnip
1 large tomato
1/2 cup white wine
2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
small handful of black peppercorns (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?)
about 14 parsley stems

Now, one thing about stocks.  A lot of recipes make you dice up your vegetables before you put them in.  I used to do that.  And then I worked at a restaurant.  We never dice them up.  At most, we quarter the vegetables.  It's quicker and you end up with the same result.  And it helps with the straining process.  So depending on your time and whether you want to work on your knife skills, you can forgo the small dicing of your vegetables.  A quick chop to make them manageable in the pot is good enough.

Heat your oil under medium high heat in a large stockpot.  Add the carrots, celery, onion, leek, fennel, turnip, and tomato to the pot.  Let the vegetable cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the wine, water, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and parsley stems.

Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Take off heat and let cool to room temperature.  Strain and package up into individual containers (I did 4 pints).  Label and date.  Store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  If you store it in the freezer, you want to thaw it slowly under cool running water.

So what would you use your vegetable stock for?

Have a great rest of your weekend guys!


  1. It must be a vegetable stock kind of week--I just posted the same thing (but the super-frugal "save your veg scraps in the freezer version). I love the addition of peppercorns rather than ground pepper. I'm definitely going to do this from now on. As far as uses go...I use stock in everything--cooking grains, making soups, etc.

  2. This stock looks amazing. Since I'm cooking for larger groups now (we've been having a lot of parties) I need a good stock recipe. I think all dinners should involve soup! Thanks for sharing, sweet girl!

  3. homemade veggie stock is a great idea for making risottos, etc... though mine usually ends up being a soup. haha.
    - i did see Sam's post and she put hers into cute little ice cube trays for serving sizes! clever!

  4. I've never made veggie stock, but when I do, I will use your recipe! Hope you're having a great weekend, Peggy~

  5. i have made vegetable stock for years but never cooked them in a little oil first / very nice touch / i will do that too !

  6. I never make my own vebetables stock,need to start to make homemade with ths recipe,thanks for sharing peggy.


  7. Wine into veg stock is new to me and I have never done this before. However when I need to make the next round of stock, I will try with the wine. Just like you, I prefer veg stock than with meat because its easier esp when having guest who are veg and non-veg as well.

  8. I'm digging the new blog! Sorry I haven't had a chance to come and have a look around, you hadn't had any recipes showing up on my feed, now I know why! I love when you cook stock in the house, makes the whole thing smell amazing!

  9. I can't wait to chk out your new space ....

    I'm hosting a giveaway over at my blog and would love for you to stop by and participate.

    Looking forward to seeing you there.

  10. I make my own chicken stock but not my own vegetable stock. Now I will. This recipe is bookmarked and congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  11. I never make my own stock. I should but I don't. Will give it a go with your recipe. Congratulations on top 9 today! :)

  12. i have yet to make my own veggie stock, i definitely need to change that!

  13. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog and great to meet you! I've always wanted to make my own veggie stock, but have yet to do it. This looks so easy and I bet it is so delicious!! And...CONGRATS on Top9! Hooray!

  14. I have made chicken stock, beef stock(that was a big job)but never attempted vegetable stock; you are an inspiration.

  15. I love making my own stock, but my veggie stock never gets that beautiful golden color that yours did! I'm going to have to try your method!

  16. Congrats on making the Top 9, Peggy! Vegetable Stock is awesome and your recipe looks great. Ours is similar (I operate a cafe), but we usually roast the veggies instead of browning them in the pot. I guess it depends on if your oven's running anyway (if so, why not throw in a skillet of veggies, rolled around in a little olive oil?!) Plus, I can stir less, haha... Once the veggies are browned, we carry on with the liquid additions, in a pot on the stove...
    Getting hungry for soup just posting about it! Blessings,

  17. Thanks for the post on making Vegetable stock. I prefer making my own stocks - they make everything you cook with them so much better than bought. I will be making your recipe soon:)

  18. I love a great homemade vegetable stock. Thanks!

  19. this stock is marvelous / the color is beautiful / the aroma sublime / how will i use it ?
    for the last year i have been living on a recipe called a Kale Melt adapted from the Melting Greens recipe in the Splendid Table cookbook / their recipe calls for 1/3 cup broth and they use homemade chicken broth or a commercial broth dressed up / i expanded the recipe into a Capellini in Brodo al' contorno / that is a dish that is a lot of homemade chicken or beef broth with assorted greens and a small amount of angel hair pasta / the meat broths i made are rich and jellied / well, recently i had a stomach flu and i will spare you the details but i dont think i will ever be able to make or eat a meat broth again !

    so here pops up on Tastespotting your beautiful jars of vegetable stock ! i will be using it for my new version of Kale Melts and for risottos / in fact i cant wait for dinner !

    p.s. the kale and other greens i use are home grown

  20. Congratulations on Top 9 and congratulations on your wedding. :) I'm sorry I haven't been by in a while.... I am going to sign up for email notifications on your blog so I can make sure to keep with yo8u feeding your hubby. :)

  21. This looks easy!! I have yet to make a stock completely from scratch I always rely on Kitchen Basics... I will have to give this a try, yummy : )