Vegetable broth or homemade vegetable stock is something I always have in the kitchen whether I am at work or at home. Whenever a recipe calls for water, we use a stock of some sort instead. Veggie broth is a universal way to implement a little extra flavor in your recipes instead of just using water. The cooks on the line keep a fresh vegetable stock on the line to rehydrate certain items when it is time to heat them up to order. You can literally make a customized vegetable stock for whatever recipe you want.
If you are making a corn soup you cut the corn off the cob, then what? Throw the cob, away right? Instead of throwing the cob away, simmer the cobs in water and create a corn stock. Use this corn stock instead of water to cook the kernels in to get that extra boost of corn flavor. The possibilities are endless. Let us take a look on how to make the perfect vegetable stock!
The history of homemade vegetable stock dates as far back as the 5th century. A roman cookbook references to a vegetable broth recipe to flavor and onion soup. I am honestly surprised it took them that long to write this down. In my experience, recipes that have stayed known for this long are obviously worth it.
What is A Vegetable Stock?
A vegetable broth is, basically, a flavorful liquid made from simmering the undesirable parts of different vegetables. These vegetables in the most basic sense consist of a combination of celery, carrots, and onions. This combination is known as mirepoix. Mirepoix is known as the basis of flavor itself, anyone who is making a stock or makes stocks frequently should know this. The technical formula for mirepoix is 2 parts onion, 1-part celery, and 1-part carrot.
Vegetable stock is often used to replace meat stocks. Stocks made from chicken, veal, beef, fish are examples of stocks that the vegetable stock replaces. Being that vegetable stocks are typically made from the scraps of vegetables that are thrown away; this recipe is definitely a cost-effective practice for the kitchen.
Besides being flavored with vegetables, this stock may also utilize another must-know culinary element called a sachet d’epices. Let us call it a sachet for short. A sachet is traditionally a bundle of herbs and aromatics used to flavor stocks and sauces. The standard herbs and aromatics consist of thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and cracked peppercorns. Once gathered, the ingredients of the sachet are wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with butchers’ twine.
Stocks are the most basic of preparations in the kitchen. With that being said, stocks are typically not seasoned until later preparations.
How Do You Make a Vegetable Broth?
Making a Vegetable stock is a remarkably simple process. There are a few steps that you need to follow to get a nice a professional product though. We will get into the tricks and tips in a minute.
First off, you want to prepare your ingredients for the veggie broth. This means washing your carrots and celery, to get rid of any clumps of dirt. Once vegetables are washed, you then want to chop them into similar size pieces. This will ensure they cook at a similar pace. Now that your vegetables are prepared, you want to make your sachet.
Now that you have your mise en place (everything in its place). It is time to cook your vegetable stock. Combine all ingredients in a stock pot, and fill with water. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then remove from heat. That is all she wrote guys. Well, that is the basics anyways. I am going to give you guys the real deal pro tips to help you get the best possible product you can. Here we go!
Vegetable Broth Tricks and Tips
Instead of throwing them away, use the scraps of your vegetables to make your vegetable broth. They key to this method is making sure to use fresh scraps. It became redundant to make a homemade vegetable stock with old scraps. These scraps can be anything from carrot and onion peels to celery hearts. Use scraps within reason, you do not want your stock to be a compost pile. Keep to the basics.
Always start with a cold liquid when it comes to stock. Water is the most common liquid used, so start with cold water. Cold water helps release certain impurities in the ingredients in your stock. These impurities then float to the top and you can skim them off. Ultimately, using cold water helps you get a clearer stock.
You want to use a 1:1 ratio of vegetables to water when it comes to vegetable broth. It does not have to be perfect, definitely nothing to stress about. When in doubt, you can always fill your stock pot halfway with vegetables and then cover with water. Using this ratio, will give you a strong flavored homemade vegetable stock with some nice body.
Use a tall pot to prevent too much evaporation. You want your stock to remain in the pot. In a perfect world, a stock pot would have a spout on the bottom to strain off your stock easier. If you are like 99% of people and you do not have a pot with a spigot, then just use a smaller vessel to scoop the stock out until you are comfortable with picking the pot up.
General rule of thumb for the cooking time on a homemade vegetable stock is 45 minutes – 1 hour. If you go longer that this, your vegetable broth will be affected negatively. If the vegetables are cooked too long, then they will become mushy and then your stock will be cloudy. There is also the strong possibility that your stock will inherit a bitter flavor from over cooked vegetables.
It is best practice to not boil your stock. Boiling your stock will lead to a cloudy and biter stock over time. The best way to cook a stock is to bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. You never want to reach the rapid boil. This will ensure that any impurities in the stock do not get dispersed throughout the stock, and float to the top to be skimmed. Once the sachet and vegetables are strained out of the stock, then you can heat the stock as you choose.
For herbs and spices (Sachet). Prolonged cooking of herbs and spices will lead to loss of flavor. The best way to avoid this is to add your sachet to the end of the process. The last 30 minutes or so will do simply fine!
It is important to not stir your homemade vegetable stock. You never want to move any ingredients once they are in the water because this could make your stock cloudy. Think of your stock as a creek flowing. The water is clear until you disturb the bottom. Once disturbed the water become cloudy and it takes a long time to settle. That is what a stock is like. The only thing is, that stocks do not have time to settle. You have one chance!
How to Store Your Vegetable Broth
After the stock is strained, there is a particular process you need to take before refrigerating. First off, you do not want to just put your hot stock into the refrigerator because bacteria can form, and it could damage your fridge.
You want to let the hot stock cool down at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before you cool it down in the fridge. This will ensure the extreme heat will dissipate before it goes in the fridge.
You can also use an ice bath to cool down your veggie broth. Weather you use the fridge or an ice bath you need to let it sit out at room temp first. Sudden temporal changes can cause bacteria to form.
- 1 chef knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 stock pot
- 1 ladle
- 1 chinois (fine mesh strainer)
- butchers’ twine
Perfect Vegetable Stock Recipe
Perfect Vegetable Broth Recipe
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 lb Yellow Onions rough chop
- ½ lb Carrots cleaned&rough chopped
- ½ lb Celery cleaned & rough chopped
- 1 lb Leek cleaned & rough chopped
- ½ lb Fennel cleaned & rough chopped
- ¼ lb Shallot
- ¼ lb Garlic
- 3 each Bay Leaves
- 10 each Parsley Stems
- 5 sprig Thyme
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 12 each Peppercorns
- 4 Qts Cold Water
- Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Then add your vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, shallot, fennel, leeks) to the pot and sweat to develop flavor. Do not get any color on them, so sir the vegetables from time to time.
- Once vegetables are sightly cooked and fragrant, add cold water. Now that the water is added, do not stir. Bring the liquid to a low boil then reduce to simmer immediately. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Now form your sachet d’epices. Place your aromatics (parley stems, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns) in a section of cheese cloth and tie with butchers’ twine so the aromatics will not fall out. Add the sachet to the stock after 15 minutes of simmering.
- Once the sachet is added, simmer for another 30 minutes. Then take off the heat. You want to strain this liquid as soon as possible through a chinois (fine mesh strainer).
You like this recipe? check out some other recipes I have !!
Vegetable Broth (Vegetable Bouillon) FAQs
Are there any vegetables I should not use?
Yes. Some vegetables do not translate well into vegetable stock.
I would stay away from…….
- Squash both winter and summer
- Vegetables and greens in the brassica family
- Any lettuces or leafy greens
- Cilantro, basil, dill
- Potatoes (In large amounts, a little is ok)
Can you freeze vegetable stock?
Yes, vegetable stock freezes very well. I like to freeze them in pint or quart containers.
Can I freeze the vegetable trimming until I have enough?
Yes. That is the best way in my opinion. Especially if you do not accumulate vegetable scraps that often.
Can I make this veggie broth in a slow cooker?
Using a slow cooker is a controversial way to make a homemade vegetable stock. It defies the rules that everyone goes by the rules I listed above. Yet, I do not see any negative effects on using a slow cooker as long as the vegetables do not get over cooked. So I would say yes, as long as you monitor the cooking process from time to time.
Can I use roasted vegetables in this vegetable bouillon?
Oh yea, using roasted vegetables will give of a deep distinctive flavor that changes this stock complexly. The recipe above is considered a white stock whilst the roasted vegetables fall under the brown stock category. There is nothing wrong with that, you are just exploring a different category is all.
Don’t stocks utilize wine, tomato paste etc?
This is an exceptionally good question. Yes, bone stocks do utilize these ingredients. Due to the short time the homemade vegetable stock is cooked, I chose to leave those ingredients out of this recipe. You can add tomato paste and wine to this recipe, but it makes it that much harder to pull it off. The reason being is that caramelizing the tomato paste and reducing the wine by half, leave little time for the simmering of the water. You will end up with a more sauce like substance if you do not act quickly.