Starting in January, you may remember Mr. Wonderful and I were doing a Daniel Fast or a 21 day plant- based diet including no meat, dairy and only whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Many of the soups and recipes we made called for vegetable stock. I have made chicken stock plenty of times (see how to make chicken stock with your leftover roasted chicken carcasses here). I have a shelf in my freezer devoted to housing plastic tubs of chicken stock. I haven’t bought a box of chicken stock in a long time.
But I couldn’t use that for our fast so I got to work making some vegetable stock.
There is no reason for buying it! You probably have all the ingredients laying around your kitchen. Oh, and by the way, if you peel potatoes and carrots on a regular basis? Toss the peels into a gallon sized freezer bag and collect them. They are great to add to any stock to bump up the flavor! Also hang onto your celery leaf tops of the celery if you don’t eat them (I LOVE celery leaves in my dishes!). Toss them in with the peels and you can practically make stock with the stuff you normally throw out!
Today I made the vegetable stock with a stock pot filled with cold water (about 3 quarts of water). The easy thing about making stock is, you don’t even have to peel stuff! I DO give my onions, carrots and celery a rinse just in case they have dirt on them. Cut the onions in half (peels and all!) and then toss in 4 carrots that you’d just broken in half or thirds. Also break up 3-4 celery stalks. Leave on the leaves! They add delicious flavor! add in some garlic cloves (about 3 or 4) that you’ve smashed with a knife.
I realize that the celery and carrots look “dirty” in the above photo but that’s just dried spices I added. In the summer I would add fresh herbs out of my garden, but here in the cold months of winter I add about 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, rosemary and parsley to the pot.
I took one last look at my vegetable crisper and decided to go ahead and add in 2 scrawny stalks of kale that were getting close to hitting the trash can and a couple of button mushrooms. Even if you don’t like mushrooms, I encourage you to try them in stock. They add a wonderful richness to the broth.
Then you just pop the lid on, leaving a little space to vent on one edge and just barely simmer it for an hour.
Once it’s simmered for an hour, take the pot off the stove and let it cool off somewhat. Then pour it through a fine strainer into a bowl.
You can press on the vegetables with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula which will release more veggie-rich liquid into the broth.
See how nice and rich and dark the broth has become? That’s flavor baby….pure flavor.
Then I pop this into the refrigerator (uncovered) for an hour or two to completely cool. It freezes beautifully so you can put it into freezer-safe containers and freeze it to use another time or if you plan on using it soon, a mason jar or two will work also! Keep it stored in the refrigerator until you decide to use it.
The difference this makes in any soup you make will be significant. Try making your own broth or stock next time and save yourself some money!
**For an extra flavorful broth, roughly chop and saute your vegetables in a little olive oil until they begin to brown before adding water, then complete the remainder of steps. Alternatively, you can roast the vegetables in the oven as well to brown.
- 4 large carrots
- 4 stalks celery
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 2 stalks kale
- 2-4 button mushrooms
- ½ t. dried thyme or several sprigs of fresh thyme
- ½ t. dried parsley or several sprigs of fresh parsley
- ½ t. dried rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Break celery and carrots into thirds and add to 3 quarts water in heavy bottomed stock pot.
- cut onion in thirds and add to pot (no need to peel)
- smash garlic with side of knife and add to pot (no need to peel)
- Add kale and mushrooms to pot (no need to cut)
- Turn heat to high on burner just until the pot comes to a boil then reduce heat to where it barely simmers.
- Simmer one hour, pour through fine strainer into large bowl and chill in refrigerator one hour.
- Pour into freezer safe containers and freeze.