For my mushroom soup tonight, I decided I wanted to make my own vegetable stock. I know that I can buy Swanson in the grocery store. However, a homemade vegetable stock is quite simple and quick to make. Follow the rough approach below using whatever vegetabales you want to use. I used the basic vegetables suggested in The Professional Chef…my go to sauce/stock/broth bible second only to Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (See book information below)
Ingredients: Onion, carrot, celery, garlic, leeks, cabbage, olive oil, salt, water
Procedure: Cut onions, carrot, and celery into uniform pieces. Sweat onions in olive oil until softened and add carrots and celery. Continue to cook until all are well caramelized. (The deeper the caramelization, the deeper the stock color will be.) Add sliced leeks (after rinsing out thoroughly….they’re full of sand!) and cabbage (shredded) and continue to cook until both are broken down and caramelized too. Add water and bring to a boil for at least 10 minutes up to an hour.
I used one onion, 8 carrots, half a stalk of celery, two leeks, and half a head of napa cabbage. Adding 3 quarts of water, I came back with about 2.5 quarts of rich brown stock.
Note: I add salt only to help bring out the liquid in the vegetables. If the vegetables are starting to brown/fry versus caramelize, adding a sprinkle of salt will help to draw out the additional moisture you need. Don’t salt the vegetable broth at this point. It will become salty, especially if you’re reducing it in another recipe. I only salt stock when I’m at the final stages of cooking with the stock.
The Professional Chef, Culinary Institute of America (Available at amazon.com)
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child (Available at amazon.com)