New Media Publishing / Photography: Flat Art Studios.com / Stylist: Abigail Donnelly
Provided by: Michelle Huneven
Here is one place where the cook can be a little lazy. While you want to scrub your vegetables, you don' t have to peel them--not even the onions or the garlic! You can vary the stock according to what you have in your refrigerator. ( I like to keep a plastic bag full of stock candidates: parsley stems, celery and fennel tops, mushroom stems, carrot and apple peels.) If you want a deeper flavored stock, skip the stovetop browning and roast the vegetables with olive oil on a cookie tray in a 425 degree oven before putting them in the stock pot. For added brightness, squeeze a lemon into the pot, or add a glug or two of white wine. If you think your stock is too sweet, cut down on or eliminate onions. For warmth, add a half teaspoon of fennel seeds or a stick of cinnamon. For a lighter, fat-free stock, eliminate the olive oil and the browning stages, and simply make by combining and boiling all ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, quartered
- 2 to 4 carrots in 2-inch sections
- 3 stalks celery, with leaves, in 2-inch sections
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, halved
- 4 cups consisting of some of the following, cut into 1-inch pieces: potato, sweet potato, leeks, shallots, summer squash, winter squash, parsnips, apple, mushrooms, spinach, chard, fennel **
- 3 to 4 tomatoes
- 1 to 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 hunk parsley, stems only is fine
- any or none of these fresh herbs: a few stems of thyme, oregano, marjoram
- In a pressure cooker or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Brown onions, carrots, celery and garlic for five minutes, until fragrant, then add other vegetables, toss to coat with oil.
- Fill pressure cooker with cold water to 2/3rds full mark. Turn flame to high. Add tomatoes, bay, peppercorns, parsley and any of the herbs you choose. Afix lid and bring up to high pressure. Cook, maintaining high pressure, for 20 minutes. If you have the time, allow slow release, but a quick release will do.
- Or, In stock pot, cover vegetable mixture with 4 quarts of water. Add tomatoes, bay, peppercorns, parsley, and any herbs you choose. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least two hours.
- Strain stock. Stock can be frozen for up to three months. After that the flavor deteriorates.
- **(Note: in making vegetable stock, avoid the cabbage family and turnips, lest their flavor dominate. Also, avoid eggplant and peppers, which can turn stock bitter)