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Roasted vegetable stock

I have no excuse for buying vegetable stock my entire life. I don’t know why I thought tetra packs of the stuff contained some kind of non-creatable magic, but I finally broke out of this silly habit of consumption this weekend and tried making my own.

This particular kind required a couple of hours of time, but a sheer lack of effort. An initial rough chop, a few shakes of a roasting pan, attention to the stove when it was time to turn down the heat, a quick strain of the liquid. And the result? A tea-colored, savory liquid that I’ve been employing in dishes all week long. I’ll share some of those recipes in coming weeks, but let’s start with the base, shall we, and work from there.

Roasting is key to the process—it caramelizes the vegetables, which means extra flavor in the broth. And it’s dead simple—even harder to mess up than a quick sauté, although if you’re pressed for time, you can also achieve the caramelization a little faster by sautéing everything rather than roasting it before tossing it in the pot with water. But then it can’t be called Roasted Vegetable Stock, now, can it?

Roasted Vegetable Stock

1 head celery
1 large onion (red, yellow or white)
6 carrots
Approx. 4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 whole head of garlic, all cloves peeled and smashed
2 TBSP. whole peppercorns

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim all leaves and ends off the celery stalks, and chunk up the carrots and onion. Divide into two 9×13 roasting pans, drizzle 2 Tbsp. oil into each pan, and toss all the vegetables in the oil until they are well coated. You can add about a tsp. each of salt and freshly ground pepper to each pan at this time, if you would like, but it’s not necessary.
  2. Roast the vegetables for approximately 40-50 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and turning dark brown in spots.
  3. Put the vegetables in a large stock pot, add the garlic and peppercorns, and fill the pan with water.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for an hour.
  5. After an hour, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh colander. Refrigerate for up to five days, and use as needed in recipes. It also freezes well for later use.

For other variations on the homemade vegetable stock theme, check out Andrea’s Recipes, Iwaruna.com, A Veggie Venture, or Cheap Healthy Good.

This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Haalo, who coordinates the event. Please stop by Cook (Almost) Everything (at least) Once for the full round-up of recipes after the weekend.

17 Comments on “Roasted vegetable stock”

  1. #1 http://justwanderingthrough.blogspot.com/
    on Mar 5th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Thanks… I was just wondering what to do with the extra thing of celery that I forgot I had when I bought more.

    This’ll fit the bill perfectly. Thanks.

  2. #2 http://bloglily.com/
    on Mar 5th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Wow. Genie, this is a very handy recipe. I stopped eating meat in November, and I’m thinking this will become a great rainy day lunch base. I’m looking forward to hearing what else you did with this. (And e-mail me when you have a chance — we have to figure out when and where to lunch. I e-mailed you but it bounced back. xoxoxo, L)

  3. #3 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 5th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    MeadowLark, the wilting celery was what inspired me to try this — I figured I wasn’t going to eat it, so other than potentially wasting a bunch of water, it was worth the experiment. And it was really good!

    Lily, it’s definitely a great rainy day lunch base — the broth on its own is really tasty — and it can be doctored up with a whole range of flavors, from Asian to Southwestern to whatever. And an email is coming your way!

  4. #4 Zannie
    on Mar 5th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    My boyfriend is the cook of our household, but he actually saves the bits of vegetables he doesn’t use for meals and puts them in a ziplock in the freezer. Carrot tops and peelings, celery tops, broccoli stems, anything he’s washed but isn’t going to use. When he’s got enough, he boils them up, and presto: vegetable stock without having used up any extra vegetables.

  5. #5 http://www.theperfectpantry.com/
    on Mar 6th, 2009 at 5:41 am

    I’ve never been able to make good vegetable stock. Don’t know why, have tried so many variations. Roasting is key, but even with that, perhaps I just don’t use the right proportions. Or, perhaps, I keep hoping my vegetable stock will measure up to my chicken stock in depth of flavor.

  6. #6 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 6th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Zannie, I’ve heard about that method, too, which I may start trying. It’s such a great way to cut down on waste!

    Lydia, that’s interesting. I agree it doesn’t have the depth of flavor of chicken stock, and it definitely isn’t as thick as commercial vegetable stock (although I hear that including potato peelings gives it some extra starchy heft), but it was so easy!

  7. #7 http://foodhappens.blogspot.com/
    on Mar 6th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I’ve totally been searching for THE vegetable stock that will blow me away… and I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this MIGHT be it.

    Looks fabulous. Gotta try it.

  8. #8 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 6th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Foodhappens, I don’t know…that’s a LOT of pressure! But give it a try, and see if this works for you.

  9. #9 http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/
    on Mar 7th, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Great post! I really need to get myself organized to make vegetable stock. I’m pretty dedicated on the chicken and beef stock, but usually buy veg stock in a can. (Shh, don’t tell anyone!)

  10. #10 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 7th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Kalyn, I always make chicken stock when I’ve got a chicken carcass, but have never made beef stock, either! How silly is that? Must make that at some point, too. I won’t tell anyone about your veg stock if you don’t tell anyone about my beef stock! ;-)

  11. #11 Derek
    on Mar 8th, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Genie, what a great idea. I too disdain the idea of prefab broth or (worse) powder. With so many vegetarians (not to mention foodies) in my universe, this is especially useful.

  12. #12 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 9th, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Derek, excellent — and it really freezes well, so I encourage making a huge batch so you have it at the ready. No need to pre-thaw — it thaws out quickly in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.

  13. #13 Quick lemony lentil soup – The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Mar 13th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    [...] promised I’d share a few recipes that use the roasted vegetable stock, and the first one is one of the recipes that I planned to post as part of my write-up of the [...]

  14. #14 http://jdeq.typepad.com/
    on Mar 14th, 2009 at 4:04 am

    Thanks for sharing this – I have only bought vegetable stock at Whole Foods – now I can make my own.

  15. #15 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 15th, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Jdeq, I highly recommend it. In fact, I just started another batch!

  16. #16 Cary
    on Mar 19th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    This stock sounds terrific! Question, do you not roast the garlic with the other vegetables? Your instructions sound like you add the raw garlic to the stockpot with roasted veggies and water. Is there a reason you do not roast the garlic with others? Thanks again for this great recipe!

  17. #17 inadvertentgardener
    on Apr 1st, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Cary, I think leaving the garlic cloves in with the rest of the vegetables during roasting would make them too overdone and possibly burnt. But you could definitely wrap the whole head of garlic in foil, roast that, and then squeeze the roasted garlic pulp into the stock. I suspect that would mellow the flavor a bit, although the long, slow cook with the garlic cloves in the stock results in a pretty mellow flavor, too.

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