I’ve been making lots of homemade stock lately. I can’t quite keep up with the amount we use to supply the cooking school, but I am doing my best, and I really love the wonderful quality and sweeter flavours.
Homemade vegetable stock recipe…….
I think too many of us may throw out scraps of vegetables that could be used to whip up a batch of stock for use either during the week or for freezer supplies.
This Winter, I have changed from making my stocks in a large pot on the stovetop to using my slow cooker instead (also fabulous for bone broths). Using the slow cooker, I get a sweet and clear stock that I can slurp straight up as is. A pot can give you a slightly bitter stock which, for me, doesn’t compare once you have tried the slow method. Cooking your stock on low heat slowly extracts all of the flavours out of your vegetables. I let mine do its thing overnight, and I wake up to a house that smells pretty wonderful and straight-up inspiration to make a healthy soup or the likes for lunch or dinner. I use the stock for soups, stews, paella, casseroles, risotto, pasta, to deglaze a pan, for a delicious broth to nourish me at my desk……you get the point. The list is endless.
I strongly urge you not to buy vegetables to make stock. You can make totally delicious stock exclusively out of scraps. It eliminates waste too. If you like, you can keep a zip lock bag in the freezer and keep adding your scraps until you have sufficient to make yourself a big pot full of stock. Always look through your scraps before making stock. Discard anything not worthy.
So………..my tips – I use a variety of vegetables but almost always, celery, carrots, onion, leeks and mushrooms. Mushrooms are a fabulous way to add umami to your stock.
Don’t add starchy vegetables if you care about your stock is a clear one. Likewise, don’t add beetroot and the likes if you don’t care for a purple stock (it will taste wonderful but may look a little suspect!).
I usually add a few black whole peppercorns, a bay leaf or two, some parsley sprigs or thyme, as well as a few spinach leaves and a garlic clove.
Depending on what you are using your batch of stock for, you could add soy or salt or miso paste after cooking. I tend to keep it simple, though, so I have a basic stock, and then I can season according to the recipe.
I place my vegetables in the slow cooker, top with enough water to cover, add my seasonings, e.g. peppercorns, garlic and the likes and place it on a low setting. Let it do its thing for 8-10 hours. Strain your stock and pour it into containers. I then label the contents and measurements of each and place them in the fridge or freezer (once they have cooled). The stock should last 5-7 days in the fridge or six months in the freezer. If freezing, do not fill up all the way as it will expand and likely overflow.
What are your tips for making stock, and what do you most use it for?