If you don’t have a lot of experience making stock from scratch, vegetable stock is a good place to start. It doesn’t take as long as chicken stock, and you don’t have to do anything elaborate like roasting beef bones, as for beef stock. I keep a container in my fridge to save scraps for vegetable stock – including tomato skins and seeds, mushroom stems, leek greens, and carrot trimmings. A quick tip: never, ever salt your stocks. This has a practical purpose – when you’re making sauces, soups, and other dishes that require homemade stock, you will often need to reduce the liquid. If you add salt at the beginning (i.e., when you’re making your stock), you run the risk of your sauce, soup, or other dish being too salty as you reduce. Always salt closer to the end of cooking when you’re using homemade stocks.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups carrot, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups celery, thinly sliced
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
3 leeks (dark green parts only), thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups mushrooms or mushroom trimmings, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/4 cups tomatoes, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs fresh parsley
10 cups water
- In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, leeks, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook and stir until the onions and the leeks start to soften, 6-8 minutes. Do not let brown.
- Add the tomatoes, thyme, parsley, and water.
- Simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for another 20 minutes.
- Strain into a large container using a fine-mesh strainer. For a fuller-bodied stock, you can continue to reduce over medium heat.
- Let cool, then refrigerate or freeze until needed.
Makes about 6 cups.