Roasted Vegetarian Soup Stock
When I prepare my own vegetable stock, I have lately gotten into the habit of oven roasting the vegetables I’m using until they are nicely caramelized, before adding my water and boiling it on the stovetop. It takes a little more time, but it makes a very rich stock with a depth of flavor that’s worth every extra minute of preparation.
Prepared stock or bouillion cubes, while great in a pinch, can’t come close to the flavor you achieve using this method. During the week, I save my vegetable cuttings, skins, and unused pieces in a plastic bag. Even if I don’t have enough to fill a pot, a few handfulls of trimmings add great flavor, especially when I add a couple of extra small onions, a few garlic cloves, some carrot pieces, and a rib of celery.
To begin, put all the washed vegetables in an ovenproof pot and toss them with a little olive oil and salt. If you have some sprigs of thyme, parsley, rosemary, or sage, toss those in as well. Now place the pot in a 350 degree preheated oven and roast until the vegetables are softened but not too browned. If necessary, add a little water to keep the vegetables from sticking. When everything is just fork tender, remove the pot from the oven, and add enough water to cover by four inches, then bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the stock for about 40 minutes, then let it cool slightly and remove any herb sprigs. Pour the stock through a strainer or through cheesecloth. If you use a strainer, it’s possible that a few bits of vegetable will escape, but this shouldn’t cause any concern.
This delicious stock can be portioned out into individual containers and frozen until you need it or it can be used right away. If you freeze it and you’re ready to use it, you needn’t even bother defrosting. Try this. I think you’ll agree, nothing compares to the rich, deep flavor of homemade stock.