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How to make vegetable stock

Written on Monday, September 5, 2016 | 5:30:00 PM



MAKES: about 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups)
PREPARATION: 10 minutes
COOKING: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients : 
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 4 celery stalks and leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, bruised with the side of a knife
- good optional extras to throw in: 
- coarsely chopped leeks, fennel, 
- tomatoes and fresh mushrooms
- 1 handful dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- sea salt flakes
- black peppercorns

There’s nothing wrong with using good-quality stock (bouillon) cubes or stock (bouillon) powder, but home-made vegetable stock is hard to beat. It has a fresher flavour than shop-bought stock, which is often too salty and doesn’t necessarily taste of vegetables. This is also very simple to make – quicker than meat-based stocks – and a terrific way to use odds and ends in the salad drawer that have passed their prime. The more veg you have in the pot the better.


Heat the oil in a large pan and add the vegetables, garlic and any optional extras. Don’t add the porcini or shiitake mushrooms, herbs or seasoning just yet. Sweat over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables start releasing their juices. 


Pour in enough cold water to cover the vegetables by 5 cm (2 inches) – you should be able to stir them around easily – then add the porcini or shiitake, the herbs and seasonings. 


When the pot starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium–low and cook gently for at least 1 hour. The longer you cook the stock the more intense the flavour will be. Stir now and then to circulate the vegetables. Strain.


Use immediately or leave to cool, then freeze in bags, plastic lidded containers or ice cube trays. If you have a shortage of freezer space, reduce the stock down further before freezing. Defrost when needed, then dilute with water. Store frozen for 2–3 months. 

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