Roasted Vegetable Stock

(From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman) I have been meaning to post this recipe since the day I started this thing. I reference “homemade Vegetable Stock” in lots of recipes and it was just brought to my attention by my dear friend Victoria that the recipe for homemade vegetable stock is not on the blog.

A shocking oversight. I love this stuff.

I use it for soups, stews, beans, sauces, roasts, curries, whenever I can. Whenever a recipe calls for stock – this is my go to. I keep it in the freezer at all times, stored in 2 cup portions in freezer baggies. It’s pretty concentrated so I often use part stock and part water. I am never out. When my stock of stock (haha!) gets low I make more. The reason for my obsession with homemade stock is that you will notice an appreciable difference between the same item cooked with homemade stock vs. store-bought stock. That is true. I have tested it.

I think that once you get the hang of it you’ll never go back. It’s true of chicken stock too which I also always have on hand. It’s easy enough to sock away a couple cups of stock (that one was cute too right? ‘sock away stock’) every time you make chicken soup for a sick person. Remember that this is an imprecise, flexible and forgiving recipe. You can change it however you want and you’ll develop your own variation over time.

By the way – Mark Bittman is one of my heros. AND I sometimes double this recipe – I mean why not if you’re going to all the trouble of roasting and cooking, etc. You need a HUGE pot to accommodate all of the veggies and water. Here it is:

Mark Bittman’s Roasted Vegetable Stock

 Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Ingredients:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 well-washed leeks, cut into chunks or 2 large onions quartered with skin on (often I have a leftover leek and that’s it. I’ll use it with 1 ½ onions – it’s flexible! Remember that)

4 carrots, cut into chunks

2 celery stalks, cut into chunks

1 parsnip, cut into chunks (optional)

2 potatoes, quartered

6 small cloves of garlic

15 to 20 white mushrooms, halved or thick slices if they’re huge mushrooms.

A small bunch of parsley leaves, plus 10 sprigs

2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme

¼ cup soy sauce, or more to taste

10 black peppercorns

½ cup white wine

Salt and pepper (optional but I usually don’t)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Combine the oil, leeks, onions, carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, garlic and mushrooms in a large roasting pan; stir to coat all vegetables with oil.

Put the roasting pan in the oven and roast, shaking the roasting pan occasionally and turning the ingredients once or twice until everything is nicely browned. This will take about 45 minutes. Don’t rush.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop the roasted vegetables into a stockpot; add the herbs, ¼ cup soy sauce, peppercorns, wine, salt to taste if you’re using and 2 quarts of water. Turn the heat to high.

Put the roasting pan over a burner on high heat and add 2 to 4 cups water, depending on the depth of the pan. Bring it to a boil and cook, scraping off all the bits of food that have stuck to the bottom. Pour this mixture into the stockpot along with 2 more cups of water if you used only 2 cups for the deglazing.

Bring to a boil then partially cover and adjust the heat so the mixture sends up a few bubbles at a time. Cook until the vegetables are very soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Strain, pressing on the vegetables to extract as much juice as possible. Taste and add more sauce, salt, or ground pepper if necessary before using or storing.

I don’t ever add more soy or any salt or pepper. I want it to be just as it is for the recipes and if I need to correct the salt or pepper I do it when I use the stock.

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