Vegetable Stock

Yield: Makes about 2 quarts

Vegetable stock is similar to Court Bouillon but has a stronger flavor because the vegetables are browned. Vegetable stock is also less acidic because it uses no vinegar. Vegetable stock can be used as a vegetarian replacement for fish or chicken stock. It isn't as flavorful as a meat stock, but sometimes that subtlety is desirable. It is an appropriate basis for a simple vegetable soup or a vegetarian pasta sauce. The delicate flavor and natural bouquet are easily overwhelmed, and thus most recipes in need of vegetable stock should be simply seasoned, relying on the quality of the natural ingredients to carry the flavor of the dish.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1- inch pieces
  • 1 medium leek, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces, and well washed
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, preheat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, leek, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Take care not to allow the vegetables to burn, and be sure to remove any pieces that are blackened, otherwise your stock will be bitter.

Add the black pepper, allspice, salt, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and 3 quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour, skimming as necessary to remove any foam that rises to the surface.

Using a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, strain the stock into a large, clean container. Press the vegetables to extract most of the liquid, discard the vegetables, and allow the stock to cool. The stock can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze the stock in small containers to be used as needed.

Recipe from Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton's The Food of Campanile
© 1997 by Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton. All rights reserved