Homemade Vegetable Stock

16 November 2016

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about yum-yum food and quality time with family and friends. Nothing should come in the way of this blissful day of eating and being grateful. In order to make sure that Thanksgiving remains a holiday that is cherished by ALL – including the designated home chefs – early meal planning and prep is essential. Potential conflicts of interest to the perfection that is Thanksgiving includes unaccounted for last minute trips to the grocery store and crazed family cooks running around the kitchen in their dirtied aprons and Mario Batali inspired crocks. A big no-no in my book.

SOS: AVOIDING THE HOLIDAY STRESS CHECKLIST–

✓Plan in advance- collect recipes and organize your shopping list. Think about if any of your guests have special dietary needs to make sure everyone leaves with happy tummies.
✓Write out a day-to-day game plan, with added buffer time for unforeseen issues.
✓Breathe.
✓Solicit the help of other family members – divide and conquer shopping for food, alcohol, table design and flowers.
✓Cook as much as possible before Thanksgiving day.
✓Breath some more.
✓Enjoy the process of cooking for your loved ones…… the journey, not the destination mentality.
✓Voila- you did it!

Over the years, many of us let our holiday recipes become tradition (as the good ones should J). It is mostly a new dietary restriction, an attempt at a first-time recipe, and of course, the yearly uphill battle of cooking a whole turkey, that throws our culinary craft off balance. Instead of adding to your hosting burden, I would like to offer you my recipe for homemade vegetable stock that can be made in advance (TODAY please).

How is this helpful?

  1. 1. Buying stock from the supermarket for such large crowds becomes pricey.
  2. 2. Freshly homemade stock always tastes better.
  3. 3. You can make a big batch of stock and freeze it so you have it on hand whenever you need.
  4. 4. Vegetable stock can be used in almost unlimited ways in your cooking. From your sautéed vegetables, to your soups, stews, sauces, stir-fries and grain dishes, using stock in replacement of water enhances the flavor and health profile of your meal. Done deal.
  5. 5. Added bonus- you get to make your vegetarian and vegan family as happy as can be on Turkey day.

Seems like a no brainer to me, but just in case you were skeptical, I hope my pitch got you excited about incorporating this hassle-free addition into your Thanksgiving rituals.

Meal planning and recipe testing happen often in my home. Email me at alix@tribecamedspa.com if you need help finding ways to include vegetable stock into your meal, or if you want assistance putting together a menu that is both nutritious and delicious.

P.S- This stock can be accurately called ‘anything but the kitchen sink vegetable stock’. The base of a great basic veggie stock is traditionally onions, carrots and celery. From there, you can add mostly anything, scraps and all, into your pot, and you will end up with a beautifully rich flavored stock. I love the idea of using remnants from your cut up dinner vegetables—you simultaneously avoid any food waste thus maximizing your bang for your buck AND you get to be environmentally careful at the same time! JOY! If you like your stocks sweeter, increase the quantity of carrots. If you want more onion flavor, add in scallions and shallots for extra kick. Be careful about adding beets unless you are prepared to have a red stock! Be reasonable with how much you load your pot- the vegetables want to come together harmoniously, without overshadowing one another in the process (unless that is your intention, of course).

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Yield: 3 quarts
Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 -1 ½ hours

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 medium onions, peeled and quartered
8 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
5 large carrots, coarsely chopped  *
1 turnip, quartered **
1 parsnip
2 leeks, coarsely chopped (well cleaned)
1 shallot
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns

 Instructions:

  1. 1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, stirring for 5 minutes until vegetables slightly soften (this step is optional).
  2. 2. Add 4 quarts of cold water to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 1-1 ½ hours. Cover the pot halfway.
  3. 3. Strain using a fine-mesh sieve.

NOTE: If you are making this for later use, let it cool completely before covering in a container and storing it in the fridge (or for longer use in the freezer). This stock stores well in the freezer for about 3 months.

* The image shows baby carrots because I was in a pinch, but that is not a great substitute for regular large carrots.

**Vegetables in the cabbage family can make your stock bitter. I tend to only add 1 turnip and no other vegetables like that in order to avoid this problem.