This basic vegetable stock from Sean Brock's cookbook, Heritage, is enticingly aromatic and deeply flavorful. The fennel, in particular, perfumes the broth and gives it distinctive character. The recipe makes slightly less than the 2 quarts indicated.
Use it to make his Farrotto With Acorn Squash and Red Russian Kale. For that recipe, you will need to make 1 1/2 times this recipe, or double it to have some leftover.)
Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.
- 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) chopped leeks (white part only)
- 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) chopped sweet onions
- 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped peeled carrots
- 1 cup (4 ounces) diced celery
- 1 cup (4 ounces) diced fennel
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley (4 ounces)
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 fresh bay leaf
Working in batches, pulse the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, fennel, and garlic in a food processor until the vegetables are the size of peas.
Heat the canola oil in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until they are just tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the water, wine, parsley, thyme, star anise, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, skimming off any impurities that rise to the top. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the stock, continuing to skim off any impurities, for 45 minutes, or until rich in color, deeply flavored, and very fragrant; add more water if necessary to keep the ingredients covered.
Gently ladle the stock into a fine-mesh strainer set over a container. Do not press down on the solids, or you will cloud the stock. Discard the solids. Fill the sink or a large bowl with ice water, place the container in the ice water, and cool until chilled, about 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate. Remove any fat that has solidified on top before using.
Tightly covered, the stock will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.