One of the key ingredients in a good braise or stew is the liquid. We talk a lot about chicken stock, since that is perhaps the most common liquid used in soups and stews. But for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, the delicacy and flavor of a good homemade vegetable stock has its own merits.
Although vegetable stock is much quicker than meat-based stocks it still takes some time and it's often tempting to open a jar like the one above. But just remember the wonderful smell that will fill your kitchen and take a little time to try it from scratch.
Read on for a few tips to help you get the most out of your vegetables...
Always include the aromatics: onions, celery and carrots. Chop everything very finely to help extract the most flavor from the vegetables. This is different from meat stocks where the vegetables are left in large chunks because they are going to be simmered for much longer. Don't use too much water - 2 parts water to 1 part vegetables is a good ratio.
D.I.Y. Vegetable Stock
makes 2 quarts
About 4 cups chopped vegetables - a mix of onions, celery, and carrots
2 large tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
2 quarts water
Simmer uncovered for about an hour. Any more than an hour and the flavor will begin to deteriorate. Strain out the vegetables using a fine mesh strainer and pressing hard to squeeze out all the broth. Let cool then pour into bags and freeze or refrigerate. If refrigerated use within a few days.