How to: make vegetable stock
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If you planted out root vegetables in early autumn you’ll be harvesting them now.
While roots make great side dishes for whatever you’re cooking for dinner, your home-grown produce also makes the best stock. Here’s our favourite recipe.
Vegetable stock has a milder flavour than chicken stock so is a lovely choice for a chunky minestrone, hearty lentil and spinach soup, or creamy vegetable risotto. It is also a thrifty habit to adopt, as discarded bits of vegetables can all be added to the stockpot before they make a trip to the compost heap. Woody asparagus ends; thick cauliflower or broccoli bottoms; outer leaves of Brussels sprouts or lettuce; potato, parsnip and carrot peelings can all be used as replacements or additions to the vegetables in our basic recipe. Keep a container in the fridge to store your stock bits, and cook up a new batch of stock every few days to keep you in easy, healthy meals all through winter.
What you need
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 leek or onion, roughly chopped
1 turnip, swede or parsnip, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
splash of white wine
1 bay leaf
Stalks from parsley, rosemary or chervil
A few whole black peppercorns
What to do
Slosh some olive oil into a big stockpot over a medium heat and add the vegetables. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring just occasionally so they caramelise a little.
Deglaze the pan with a slosh of white wine, then cover the vegetables with about 4cm of water. Add the herbs and peppercorns and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour. Strain through a colander, and then through a fine sieve. The solids can go in the compost, and the fragrant stock should be refrigerated. It can be kept in the fridge if you plant to use it within three days, otherwise freeze in handy sizes.