Basic Vegetable Stock

Basic Vegetable Stock

Details

Stocks are a great way to build flavor. While most stocks, even home made, are very high in sodium, this stock demonstrates that you can achieve deep flavor, without the salt, by using high quality, flavorful ingredients.
  • Serves: 2 qt
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Views: 13,113
  • Success: 100%

Steps

Step 1: Starting the Stock

• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1/2 head celery, chopped
• 2 large onions, chopped
• 1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
• 3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 tsp black peppercorns
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 qt cold water
• 1/4 cup sun–dried tomatoes
• 1 small handful of fresh parsley
• a few sprigs of thyme

Method

First, gather and prepare your mise en place.

To start the stock, add all ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Step 2: Finishing the Stock

Method

To finish the stock, allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Alternatively, you can use a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Pour the stock into the strainer, allowing the liquid to pour through.

If not using immediately, quickly chill or freeze and store until ready to use.

21 Comments

  • Divina C
    Divina C
    Can you suggest another substitute for sun-dried tomatoes? As they are quite expensive in our country. Will tomato paste do for now? Thank you
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Yes, your intuition served you well! A small amount of paste is OK.
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    I have to say that this was one of the most flavourful stocks I have made. It is even more flavourful than the chicken, turkey, or beef stocks that I have made.I pretty much through everything I could think of into it. Squash, onion, carrot, celery, mushroom, shallot, green onion, chili peppers, a little of this, a little of that... I can hardly wait to start using it this coming week.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    I completely agree - the depth of flavor can be really unique and bring s balance of sweet, savory and rich flavors together. Any cloudiness of sediment can easily be strained out (or let it simply settle to the bottom) and the coloration can be light or dark. Glad you enjoyed it! ~Ken
  • Lisa L
    Lisa L
    Is it possible to reuse the cooked vegetables for a different recipe or is it better not to keep them as they lost all their nutrients and flavour in the stock cooking process? Thanks!!
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    As you guessed, the veggies will have lost all their nutrients and flavour in the stock cooking process. All the good stuff is now in your stock! That said, dogs seem to love them mixed in with their dog food.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Exactly Leigh- When done correctly the veggies will have little flavor and a very soft texture. Not ideal for other applications. ~Ken
  • Lisa L
    Lisa L
    Thanks Leigh and Ken. I feel like I am wasting food but if there ate no nutrients left, there is no point in keeping the veggies! (not even for the dog as he won't benefit from them either. But might reuse them for compost... ) thanks!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Compost is a great option.... the vegetables are pretty "spent" after they are made into stock/broth. ~Ken
  • Sonya K
    Sonya K
    I have run into a problem with bitter stock more often than I'd like to. It doesn't happen everytime, but sometimes I'll have a bitter flavor that can be very overwhelming. At first I thought it might be organ meat (in my chicken/turkey stock) but now I just made a veggie stock and I'm running into it again. Since the last time it happened I heard carrot ends can add bitterness so I stopped saving carrot ends in my freezer stock bag. I also thought in the past butternut squash peels might have been the culprit. But this time, nothing like that was in my stock bag and I still found a bitter flavor. what should I avoid putting in my stock to make sure this doesn't happen again in the future?
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    Hard to say without more info. For instance, are you running into this when making a dark stock, or a light stock, or both? If I may, I will offer a few suggestions of things to try so you can perhaps locate or isolate the source of the bitterness on your own. 1. As you have suggested, the bitterness can come from bitter vegetables or vegetable parts. (ends, stems, skins, etc) I'd suggest trying to make a vegetable stock as a test, where you are only using fresh vegetables, that have been peeled and chopped. Taste each vegetable in its raw state to make sure that it meets the flavor profile and sweetness that you are seeking. If you detect any bitterness in the raw state, you are most certainly going to detect bitterness in the final product. 2. Bitterness can also come from burned or overcooked vegetables. If your vegetables, mirepoix, or garlic are burned during the roasting or sweating phase of stock making, they will definitely impart bitterness in the final stock. 3. Your meat is not likely to be the source of bitterness unless severely burned. A little caramelization is desired... too much and you may begin to get undesired flavours or bitterness. 4. I always use filtered water for my stocks and broths. It may be overkill, but my tap water tastes funny, and I don't want to risk having it alter the taste of my final product. That's pretty much it. If you use fresh tasting vegetables, fresh tasting water, and avoid burning your mirepoix during the roasting phase, you should end up with great tasting stock. My 2 cents worth! :-)
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Leigh, great feedback as always. The only other thing that I might be able to add is the type of vegetables used could possibly add some bitterness. Bu honestly, t I am thinking it's one of the above things that Leigh has mentioned. Here is a note taken from this other vegetable stock (on Rouxbe) "Vegetable stock or broth can be made with nearly any combination of vegetables. Just keep in mind that strong-flavored vegetables, such as cabbage, eggplant, turnips or peppers can dominate the flavor, so these should typically be omitted." Sonya, please let us know how it goes and if you might be able to provide anymore insight. And Leigh, thanks again for being so supportive and informative :-) Cheers.
  • Sonya K
    Sonya K
    Hi guys, Thanks for all of your feedback. Here's some more background to give you a better idea.: I make stock all the time and this only happened 3 times but I can't find a connection. 1) first time it happened was with with a turkey stock after thanksgiving. I used half the turkey bones, organ meat, fresh veg and my frozen stock scraps. It was so bitter I threw it out and used the other half of the bones, no fresh veg (since I was out at that point) and some more (fresher) frozen scraps. the second batch was good so I thought maybe it was the organ meat. 2) second time it happened was with chicken stock. I did not use organ meat. I used a whole chicken, fresh veg and my frozen stock bag. it was very bitter. this is where I read online that it might be carrot ends (which I always saved up until this point) and also I thought maybe the butternut squash peels I had in my freezer bag could be to blame. from then on, I only saved clean, fresh peels, no veggie ends of anything in my freezer bag. I never saved any cabbage, broccoli or other strong tasting veggies in my frozen scraps. 3) so when the this time it was bitter I'm beginning to get frustrated. I didn't have any fresh veg on hand and there's no meat at all so I can rule out fresh veggies and organ meat....I had a ton of scraps in the freezer so I filled up my slow cooker and let it go. Only scraps were from carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, celery, and fennel. Would the fennel tops have been the culprit maybe???? Other notes: - I have always used filtered water for my stocks. - I never burn anything when making a stock so that is not the point of failure (never had a bitter brown stock and all others I don't precook anything) - as I mentioned I thought ends and strange veggies were a problem so this time I only used very clean, very carefully chosen scraps from my veggie freezer bag - I never use strong veg when making stocks. when I use fresh veggies, it's always just onion, celery and carrots. The only connection I can draw is that I never had this problem before I started keeping my scraps as suggested from this class. At this point if I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong I'm not going to keep frozen scraps anymore. That feels like a great big waste and I really like the flavor my stocks have had since I started using the scraps (when it doesn't come out bitter), but I'm tired of throwing pots of stock down the drain. could it be the age of the frozen scraps? how long can I keep it in the fridge before there is a problem?
  • Sonya K
    Sonya K
    I mean how long can I keep the frozen scraps in the freezer before they go bad, not in the fridge
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Sonya - Just chiming in here to support Dawn and Leigh who have both provided a lot of inout. Scraps can be stored for a few months in the freezer with no issues. It's hard to say what is going on with your stock. I do not attribute any bitterness to freezing the vegetables or scraps. I would not add fennel to a stock- too strong for sure. Potato peels are also not the best idea, in my opinion, as they add little to no flavor and could add unwanted cloudiness due to the starch as it breaks down.
  • Sonya K
    Sonya K
    Thanks Ken, Dawn, and Leigh for all your help! I will assume my scraps were too old and maybe turned based on what you have mentioned. My freezer scrap bag was started several months ago, which may be too long. that actually may explain all the scenarios (and especially the turkey stock situation since when I made the second stock and it wasn't bitter I was using fresher scraps) In the future I will fill a bag only for a month and mark it and start a new bag when the month is up. then I can throw out anything that is too old very easily. I will also in the future not save potato peels ( I will assume that goes for sweet potatoes as well) or fennel. Thanks all for the input. I really appreciate it! :)
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    I think you've hit the nail on the head, Sonya. The common denominator in all three instances is the frozen vegetables. I'd put my money on "Colonel Mustard, in the Kitchen, with the Frozen Vegetables." :-) Not saying that using frozen vegetables is always going to be a problem, but it sounds like you've been throwing everything but the kitchen sink in your freezer pack and I suspect that somewhere along the line some random bitter item got pitched in there and every so often creeps into your unsuspecting veggie stock. If you haven't already, I'd suggest that you throw out your current package of frozen vegetables and start over.
  • Fernando M
    Fernando M
    Any advice on cooking time if I wanted to cook this through a pressure cooker?
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    Hi Fernando and thanks for your question. Indeed, because of the concentrated and high heat of pressure cookers, you can typically complete a tasty and rich vegetable stock in as little as 15 minutes! Happy Cooking. Chef Kirk
  • Kelly L
    Kelly L
    Would sauteing or roasting the vegetables prior to putting them in the pot bring out the flavors more? Or is it an unnecessary extra step? Thanks so much!
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    Hi Kelly! Great question! So roasting your vegetables would definitely bring out some additional flavor profiles - and most likely some richer color as well. I highly recommend if you have the time! All the best, Chef Kirk

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