Some of our OFL's are interested in making home made vegetable stock. First, let me say vegetable broth is good, but the flavor and richness of stock is much better. When I was an exec. chef, I kept beef, chicken and vegetable stock at the ready all the time for different recipes. Occasionally, I made simple onion stock, a great addition to many recipes, starting with French onion soup!
If you're going to make stock, I recommend making a large pot of it each time. It freezes well in small containers for use at any time. Another thing to remember about vegetable stock, is that there is no hard and fast recipe. What gives any stock its rich hearty flavor is the roasting of the ingredients before cooking it in liquid.
To make a rich vegetable stock, use mostly strong vegetables, rather than very mild ones. So, here is a sample recipe and how to put it together. Be creative and use ingredients you choose. Experiment to find the vegetable mixtures you like.
1 1/2 pounds of yellow or white onions, chopped into quarters (leave peelings on for richer flavor
1 pound of celery with leaves chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 - 2 heads of garlic sliced in half cross-wise with peelings left on
1 pound of carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
5 medium tomatoes cut in half cross-wise with liquid gently squeezed out
About 6 - 8 stalks of green onions cut into 2 inch pieces
About 1 pound of some hearty flavored greens chopped (this can be turnip greens, mustards, kale or whatever you prefer.)
About 4 -6 turnip roots cut into quarter chunks
About a pound of parsnips cut into 2 inch chunks.
2 Eggplants cut into chunks with skin left on
Any other vegetables you want to toss in
3 tablespoons dried basil
About 10 springs of thyme
1 - 1/2 gallons of water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and coat a large cookie sheet generously with olive oil
Spread cut vegetables in an even layer on the cookie sheet and roast in the oven till onions are beginning to caramelize and turn brown. Start with the amount of water to cover the roasted vegetables by about 2 inches. in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer till the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the water from the vegetables. I do no use salt or pepper in the original stock- this leaves it free for later seasoning in different recipes. I usually freeze my stock in one pint containers.
That's it- no great secret to great stock!