When you are cooking with a large artillery of animal-based ingredients it's pretty easy to make things taste good. Butter, cream, bacon, meat-based stocks—all of these are packed with flavor. When you omit these ingredients from your daily cooking routine things get a little more difficult. One of the best ways to impart complexity and deepness of flavor to vegetarian and vegan dishes is to add some homemade vegetable stock to your recipes.
Vegetable stock couldn't be easier to prepare. Simply throw some aromatic vegetables and herbs into a large pot of water and simmer for a few hours. Carrots, celery, and onions are all great, but other vegetables will make the stock even more flavorful. Carol Gelles adds parsley roots, leeks, parsnips, and celeriac to her Mighty Vegetable Broth in 100 Best Vegetarian Recipes and advises that you can use pretty much any vegetable that you have on hand. I usually end up making a big batch of vegetable stock whenever I see that my crisper is getting a bit full and the vegetables are starting to look a bit tired.
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- Yield:4 cups
- 8 cups water
- 3 medium carrots (6 ounces), peeled
- 2 large celery ribs, with leaves (6 ounces)
- 2 medium parsnips (6 ounces), peeled
- 2 leeks, thoroughly rinsed
- 2 small parsley roots, including leaves, peeled
- 1 medium turnip (6 ounces), peeled
- 1 medium tomato (6 ounces)
- 1/2 small celeriac (celery root, knob celery, 3 ounces), peeled
- 2 cloves garlic
Place all the ingredients in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Uncover and simmer 1 hour longer.
Place a large, fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the broth and vegetables into the strainer. Gently press the vegetables remaining in the strainer, until all of the liquid has fallen into the bowl. Discard pressed vegetables.
Variation: Add any vegetables you have on hand: cabbage, spinach, onion, kohlrabi, and so on.