Building a Healthy Pantry: How to Make Perfect Vegetable Stock
Stocks are one of the main building blocks of good cooking. They provide depth to almost everything we use them in without much in the way of added salts or fat. If you don’t have the time to make your own stocks there are obviously many store-bought versions available. But they still require some work to get the flavors right: If you have to purchase stock I suggest trying to purchase low-sodium versions. I also generally dilute store bought stocks with water (1:1) to cut back on the aggressive flavors that you sometimes find.
I’ve known many kitchens that treat their stock pots like garbage cans. Every peel and vegetable scrap ends up in a pot and they boil it and expect it to do what well-prepared stock does. Please don’t do that. Peels from vegetables, especially carrots, or the leaves from celery can make stocks lean towards the bitter and astringent, not good qualities you want. It takes so little time to properly prepare a vegetable for stock it doesn’t make sense spend a little extra time and care.
This recipe is also suited for vegetarians and vegans. Broth is a foundational pantry item, and can be used in a variety of ways — from flavoring rice and pasta during cooking, to serving as the centerpiece for soups and purees, to just tasting delicious out of a mug with a little pinch of salt.
- 2 gallons of water cold
- 3 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 bunch celery, leaves removed, washed and rough chopped
- 2 yellow onions, peeled, rough chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ head cabbage, rough chopped
- 1 tomato, rough-chopped
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 Tbs black peppercorns
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring it up to temperature slowly. Do not let it boil (if you’re concerned about clarity). Once your stock is up to a nice simmer, allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain. Stock can be kept in the fridge for 5 days or frozen indefinitely.