1. Why? Homemade stock is like liquid gold. Loaded with goodness and free of sugar and yeast.
To make 500ml of veg stock you’ll need:
• 2 carrots
• 1 large white onion, 4-5 shallots or 2 leeks
• 1-2 sticks of celery or ½ a fennel bulb
• 2 garlic cloves
• A little olive oil
• A good pinch of salt and pepper
• 500 ml cold water, enough to cover the veg
Then add any of the following: leafy green carrot tops, sweetcorn husks, silks and cobs, parsnips, squash or pumpkin trimmings,
celeriac, bean or asparagus trimmings…
A few herbs or spices are nice, too: parsley, bay leaves, tarragon, fennel seeds, saffron, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, coriander
seeds, cloves, star anise, fresh ginger, lemon grass, turmeric, chilli.
Finely chop, grate or blitz your veg in a food processor. It helps the veg infuse faster and makes a more nutritious stock. Set a large pot over high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and the veg. Lower the heat. Season. Cook for 2 mins. Add enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat. Stand for 10 mins. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Cool fully. Decant into any fridge/freezer friendly container: big yogurt pots or ice cube trays are great. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to a year. Defrost instantly in a saucepan over medium heat, or overnight in the fridge. It’s great in soups, stews and risottos, for poaching veg, meat or fish, or sip it as a savoury tea.
5. Flavour Matches...
• Rich veg stock Add a large handful of fresh or dried mushrooms and/or cooked puy lentils to your stock to make it richer. A brilliant vegetarian alternative for beef stock in French onion soup.
• Asian stock Add a crushed or grated thumb of ginger, 1-2 star anise, a bashed stalk of lemongrass or a grated bit of fresh turmeric.
• Persian stock Add a pinch of saffron, 1 cinnamon stick and 1-2 slices of fresh chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes.