Roasted Vegetable Stock

Garnished Broth. Photo by Jack Andrews
Garnished Broth. Photo by Jack Andrews

I know. It’s spring. Or, rather, “spring.” The thing is? It’s still pretty cold here, and on top of that, damp. So, basically, it’s still soup weather, and rather than being cranky about it, let’s just make some good veggie stock to cook up some of the vegetables that might, in a perfect world, soon be coming out of the ground. Or, maybe, going into the ground. Man, this whole seasonal blah is really not inspiring me! But I’m hungry, and soup is good.

So. Soup stock. As with Denise’s Roasted Beef Stock, this vegetable stock gets a lot of its flavor from caramelizing the sugars in the vegetables by roasting them first. Deglazing the roasting pan with white wine or sherry adds a little extra hit of flavor, but if you don’t have or don’t want to use alcohol, water will work. Just make sure to scrape the bits up really well — there’s flavor in there.

This stock can be the base for pretty much any soup, though if you’re going for a specific flavor profile, consider that when choosing your herbs. I’ve given very specific measurements here because part of the reason we’re posting basics like stock is that we know that some people have always purchased stock, either in bouillon cubes or in boxes or cans. Allergies take away that option (damn allergies) or make it difficult, so if soup stock is part of your learning curve, we’ve got it covered. BUT. Stock is inherently flexible, so feel free to play with the recipe. You do not need exactly what I’ve used, and the measurements are overly precise (unnecessarily so) just in case you’re a newbie and want that. I weighed everything that was roasted, just for you, and since I was doing that, did metric and US weights. I don’t actually know metric measurements otherwise, so they aren’t included other than that. Sorry about that.

A note on ingredients and prep: in a stock, you’re extracting flavor. So you want the best produce you can buy, and you want to alter it as little as possible. Because of this, when possible, I buy organic vegetables to roast, and I wash them well. I don’t peel them. Chop them roughly, and remove only parts that are bad or brown, and any parts that might burn (onion skin).

Ungarnished Broth. Photo by Jack Andrews
Ungarnished Broth. Photo by Jack Andrews

Roasted Vegetable Stock

There are two sets of ingredients in this recipe. The first set get roasted. The second set go straight into the stock pot.

Roasted Ingredients
Roasted Ingredients

To go into the oven:

  • 7 carrots (9.5 oz, 269g)
  • 7 stalks of celery, plus core (15 oz, 425g)
  • 2 apples (12 oz, 345g)
  • 1 onion (8.5 oz, 237g)
  • 4 large shallots (1 lb., 453g)
  • a handful of garlic cloves, about half a head on a typical US-sized clove (2 oz, 64g)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of white wine, red wine, sherry, or water (reserved — use this after roasting)

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Chop the carrots and celery into about 1 inch chunks — remove any greenery from carrots, and remove and reserve all the celery leaves (see below). Quarter the apples and remove the part of the core containing the seeds. Quarter the onion and halve each quarter — remove all the papery skin. Same with the shallots (note — I used shallots here because they looked good at the store when I was buying the veg — you could just use another onion or two here, but less in weight than shallots, as shallots are milder). Remove the skin on the garlic cloves.

Place all the veg in a baking pan or roasting pan with sides, metal is preferred. Douse them with olive oil and salt, and turn everything around in the oil until it’s well-coated.

Put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. You’ll need an hour, possibly an hour and a half to get a good caramelized brown all over all your veg, so plan accordingly. Check every 30 minutes, and beware of sticking your head close to the oven as you open it — there’s a lot of steam in there. And yes, I forget that every.single.time.

Now, your second set of ingredients for the stock — the ones that do not get roasted.

Into the stockpot:

  • another handful of garlic cloves
  • all of the celery leaves — don’t waste them!
  • 1/2 a bunch of parsley
  • 3-4 sprigs of dill, or another fresh herb that looks good at your store and is soup-appropriate (rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme — all would be good options)(optional, but adds freshness)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns (this does NOT make your stock hot — the peppercorns aren’t broken, so most of the oil stays in, but it adds a nice flavor) (if you are Denise and you’re making this, you would likely add dried chilies here instead, but those will be hot — if that’s your thing, do it!)
  • about 10 cups of water

Get all this (MINUS the water) ready in your pot while everything else roasts.

When the roasting is done, scrape the roasted veg directly into the stockpot. Deglaze your pan with your water or wine by pouring the cold liquid on the hot pan and using that to scrape up all the roasted bits stuck to the pan. Add that to the stock pot.

Then add water, enough cover all the stuff in the pan by about two inches. Bring this to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Strain out and discard the vegetables and herbs, and either use it to make soup right away, or store it. This should keep in the fridge for about a week, or store it in the freezer. With 10 cups of water, I got not quite 3 full quart jars of stock.

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