Vegetable stock is a delicate substitute for chicken stock in soups. It can actually be very inexpensive if you think ahead: Instead of using whole vegetables, save your cleaned trimmings and scraps (potato skins, onion skins, carrot tops and peels, celery leaves, etc.) in the refrigerator or freezer. Use about 2 cups of vegetable scraps for every quart of water. Of course, you can also use fresh vegetables as below. Do not overdo strongly flavored vegetables such as members of the cabbage family. Avoid adding bell peppers, which impart an off flavor. For extra richness, save the water when cooking vegetables to use as part or all of the stock’s cooking liquid.
Homemade Vegetable Stock
- Cooking and Prep: 2 h
- Serves: 12
Prepare the Stock
Heat the oil in stockpot or large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes.
Strain the stock through a colander, pressing out any liquid, then discard the solids. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Use as a base for other soups or serve by itself with noodles, matza balls, or rice.
A general rule of thumb in seasoning soup is for every 1 quart of stock use 2 tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried herbs, Use about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or 3 tablespoons miso (fermented soy paste) for every quart of water. Stock reduces as it simmers, intensifying the flavors. Therefore, it is best not to add too much salt at the beginning of cooking.
If you use stock as the base for soup, be careful adding additional salt. If the soup is too salty, add a whole peeled raw potato and cook until the excess salt is absorbed. Discard the potato.