For some dishes, chicken stock just won’t do. Enter sauce expert Susan Volland. She says homemade vegetable stock is quick, inexpensive and can be easily adapted for use in any recipe. When made fresh, homemade vegetable stock brings to bear a “simple, sweet earthiness that adds complexity and depth of flavor” to any sauce, soup or stew.
In her book, “Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook’s Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors,” Volland says to achieve a sweeter, more intense vegetable stock, first roast your vegetables until they turn brown. Try experimenting with other combinations of vegetables and herbs if you want to customize the flavor of the stock. Making stock is also a great way to recycle vegetables in the refrigerator.
Susan Volland’s Easy, Adaptable Vegetable Stock
Prepare your bouquet garni by using kitchen twine to tie 1 large sprig of fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 3 or 4 sprigs of bruised parsley into a bundle.
Yield: Makes 4 cups
4–5 cups cold water
1 tbsp vegetable oil or light olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced (optional)
1 garlic clove
½ cup white wine
1 bouquet garni
6–8 black peppercorns
Kosher salt, a pinch
Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes. Try not to disturb the vegetable if possible. Stir them around only enough to cook them evenly, but not so much that they break up into small particles. This will keep your stock clear.
Next, pour in the wine and reduce the volume by half to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the flavor.
Add the bouquet garni, peppercorns, salt and just enough cold water to cover all of the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook at a trembling simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
Set a sieve over a container and strain the stock without pressing on the solids so that your stock will remain clear. Discard the solids.
To store: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Note: Putting pots of piping hot stock in the refrigerator can raise the internal temperature to unsafe levels, so cool the stock before refrigerating.
Pressure-Cooker Vegetable Stock
If you’re short on time, Susan Volland’s Easy, Adaptable Vegetable Stock recipe can also be made in a pressure cooker.
(See above recipe for ingredients)
Instructions: Seal the ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook, following manufacturer’s recommendations, about 20 minutes.