First of all I think we need to have a chat about making a vegetable stock.
There are three different version of vegetable stock, dark, sweet or white. So for me the holy group of vegetables and herbs for a vegetable stock is Onion, Carrot, Celery, Mushroom, Parsley stalks and for added love, some bay leaves. There are points of view that include fennel, turnips, parsnips and star anise, but we will get back to that later.
This vegetable stock is for dark broths, tomato flavours, mushrooms and any soup that is a more of a dark in colour and with earthy robust flavours.
The items that will colour your stock are onion skins, dried mushrooms, fresh mushrooms particularly one with open dark gills, roasted or fried chopped onion, carrots and celery. Each of these will add a flavour to the finished stock so try keep it balanced.
Onions and carrots add sweet higher notes to the stock. The celery is important as it will add a middle note to the flavour profile but go easy on the amount you use. The mushroom will add the base note and if you use dried mushroom remember you will need less as a general rule they are stronger in flavour. The onion skins will add very little flavour but the more you add the darker the colour of the stock.
Now fennel, turnips, swedes do they have a place? The answer is yes, as they add a roundness and middle tones to the stock. I am still conservative when it comes to how much and when, what the hell you can give it a go and see for yourself anyway.
Cut up the vegetables into piece of similar size and larger rather than smaller, say about 2cm x 2cm rough cubes. The amount of vegetables required is roughly 66% of the volume of the pot you are cooking the stock in. How do you do that? If you pot is 10lts use a container of similar size that has volume markings on it and place the vegetables into it as you cut them up so then you know you have the right amount of vegetables. What I mean is the cut vegetables would take up the same amount of space in the pot as 6.6lts of liquid. That doesn’t mean you need 6kg of vegetables though. Try it it, will make more sense as you do it.
Add a teaspoon of a vegetable oil to the pot your are cooking your stock in and heat to about 130c to 150c but not smoking.
Then add the vegetables and stir.
So what you are aiming for is the vegetables to brown but not to burn. So stir regularly but not constantly. Even a very small of burn vegetables will taint the flavour the stock, trust me on this.
If you are really intent on being precise I would say you are looking for a brown colour between Pantone PMS 1385 to not darker than PMS 1405 just as a guide 😉
Congratulations you have brown the vegetables to required level. Now add water!
So simply fill your pot so the water level is at least 3cms from the lip of the pot. Turn up the heat and stir from time to time you don’t want the vegetables to stick to the bottom and burn.
We need the stock to come to the boil. How do you tell if it is boiling? Well what we what is for the vegetables to be gently rolling up from the bottom of the pot, that is called a rolling boil 😉
Ok so it has been boiling for about 20ish minutes so it is now time to strain your stock into a container and discard the vegetables. What throw ay the vegetables! Yep taste one, a bit of carrot,bland is it not? All the flavour is in the stock.
Ok, put the stock back in the pot and on the stove, and bring it back to a gentle boil and let it reduce by a third.
Now you are done! We have a a very flavorsome vegetable stock to use in any way you wish.