Homemade Vegetable Stock Recipe

Learn how to make vegetable stock from kitchen scraps.

| October 2011 Web

The Locavores Kitchen

In "The Locavore's Kitchen," author Marilou K. Suszko shows you what to look for when buying locally grown foods, how to store fresh foods, and ways to prepare them to bring out fresh, genuine flavors and colors.

The following is an excerpt from "The Locavore's Kitchen" by Marilou K. Suszko. The excerpt is from Chapter 3: Fall. To find out more about the recipes in "The Locavore's Kitchen" and the importance of eating local, read this interview with author Marilou Suszko. 

Vegetable Stock
Makes about 8 cups 

For some people, carrot peelings, celery leaves, corncobs, and mushroom stems are either trash or compost. It’s the same dilemma with vegetables that may be a little past their prime, like celery that’s a bit limp or tomatoes not pretty enough for a salad. The resourceful cook—the locavore—knows that these are the makings of a magnificent vegetable stock, a great base for soups that feature other vegetables, like the Cabbage and Mushroom Soup or the flavorful liquid that enhances dishes such as the creamy Pumpkin Risotto from my book "The Locavore's Kitchen." Made correctly, rich and highly flavored, vegetable stock can often be used as a substitute for chicken stock and is helpful for converting some dishes to vegetarian options. Lighter and sweeter than meatbased stocks, it does its job quietly, but deliciously, in the background when the focus is on stronger flavors.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
2 cups chopped celery, including leaves
1½ cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped leeks (green leaves only)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves and stems, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
½ tablespoon peppercorns, crushed
Salt, to taste

1. Heat the butter or oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns and stir to coat. Cook, uncovered, until the vegetables have softened and released some of their liquid, about 30 minutes. Take care that the vegetables don’t brown.

2. Add enough cold water to the pot to just cover the vegetables, about 6 cups. Bring to a gentle boil. Adjust the heat so the stock remains at a gentle simmer, cover, and cook without stirring for about an hour until the stock is flavorful and takes on some color.

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