This is a quick and easy recipe to "set it and forget it." Vegetable broth (or vegetable stock) is a staple in vegetarian cooking, and it's so simple to whip up a big batch and freeze it to have on hand for all your upcoming recipes. And as an added bonus, when making your own staple recipes you are at liberty to control all ingredients, including any that you may be allergic to and/or any that you may want to limit (like additional sodium).
This particular recipe is easy to modify to your own requirements. I have included the basic recipe below, but feel free to substitute favorite vegetables or herbs from your garden.
Homemade Vegetable Broth
5-6 oz sliced mushrooms
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
3 cups chopped carrot or parsnips
1 cup chopped fennel bulb (optional)
Salt, to taste
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 bay leaves (optional)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large stockpot. Add the mushrooms and saute until they are lightly browned and have given off some of their moisture.
- Add chopped onions, celery, carrots, and fennel (if using) and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Cook over high heat for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the vegetables begin to brown. Considering there are so many vegetables with a high moisture content, it may take more heat and longer time to brown.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves (if using), parsley, and 4 additional quarts of water. Bring to a simmer and then drop the heat until you just get a bare simmer. The surface of the stock should just barely be bubbling. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.
- Using slotted spoon, remove all the big pieces of vegetable and mushrooms. Discard or compost.
- Set up a sieve over large bowl or pot. Line the sieve with a paper towel and pour the stock through it. When you have poured about half the stock through, stop and let what is in the sieve filter through. Then, change the paper towel and filter the rest of the stock in the same way.
- To store, pour into Mason jars and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze. If you freeze in glass jars, leave at least an inch and a half of headroom so that the stock can expand without breaking the glass of the jars.
This recipe makes about 5 quarts of vegetable broth.
You'll note that you remove all vegetables and herbs and then strain thoroughly before jarring and freezing. Because of this, there is no need to perfectly or finely chop any of the vegetables before you cook them. A rough chop will do just fine.
Also, you'll note that the directions call for you to "barely simmer." You'll want to make sure that you follow this closely. If you were to keep this at a rolling boil, for example, much of your precious vegetable broth would evaporate during the cooking process!