Vegetable stock

Vegetable stock

By
From
New Feast
Makes
4 litres
Photographer
Alan Benson

Although it is perfectly possible to buy good-quality vegetable stocks these days, most supermarket varieties have a strong ‘dried herb’ flavour, which can overpower a dish. If you can, try to use a liquid stock, rather than cubes or powders but home-made is best!

This is a very low-fat stock with a delicate, fresh flavour. We make it in fairly large amounts and then freeze it in freezer bags in 500 ml batches. Saffron adds its usual distinctive flavour note and a lovely golden hue, but is entirely optional.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 leeks, well washed and roughly chopped
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
4 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half crossways
2 bay leaves
a handful thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
15-20 saffron threads, (optional)

Method

  1. Put all the vegetables into your largest pot. Cover generously with water, at least 4 litres.
  2. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for an hour, skimming away any froth that rises to the surface, although this will be minimal.
  3. Remove from the heat and cover the pot with cling film to make it airtight. By some magic, this helps to clarify the stock and seems to keep the vegetable essence in the stock. Leave to sit for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the cling film. For the best and clearest stock, sit your sieve directly into the stock, gently submerging the vegetables, and ladle out the liquid. Don't be tempted to just pour it through the sieve as this makes it cloudy. Ladle the stock directly into a measuring jug and then freeze it in 500 ml portions for future use.

Note:

  • We don't use whole tomatoes for stocks as the seeds make it bitter, but if you have any tomato skins left over from another recipe then add them to the pot. Similarly, a few mushrooms are also a good addition, but remove the gills as they discolour the stock.
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