By making vegetable stock, it is possible to appreciate just how much nutritional goodness and flavour is contained within it. The cooking smells are delicious, especially the combination of celeriac together with tarragon and thyme.
The only work involved is preparing the ingredients. They are thrown into a big saucepan which can be left to simmer away gently for an hour or so.
A low effort way to transform the taste of homemade soup.
Watch How To Make Vegetable Stock
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Freshly made vegetable stock can transform the taste of homemade soup. It really is rather wonderful, and in my view much more flavourful than using stock cubes. The freshness of the herbs and vegetables bursts through in flavour, making the stock an ideal base for any soup you would like to make.
I suggest making around three to four litres in one go and freezing the stock in soup sized portions of 750ml to 1 litre. That way you will have done the hard work preparing stock for up to four family sized soups.
A quick look at all the ingredients shows why the stock tastes so good. All the ingredients add flavour, but fresh celeriac and handfuls of fresh herbs really standout for their contribution. Aside from chopping, vegetable stock is very easy to make. Once on the hob gently simmering, you can set a timer and get on with all the other jobs you need to do.
Celeriac is easy to grow, cheap to buy in the shops, and adds a delicious celery like flavour to the stock. It needs to be chopped and weighed to the correct portion. Using a whole celeriac may overpower the other ingredients.
Peel the celeriac, a normal vegetable peeler will be strong enough as the skin is not too thick, and chop it into small cubes to help it cook faster.
Do the same with the carrots. Peel and chop into small portions.
Leeks are full of goodness and add sweetness to the stock. The leek needs to be chopped finely. As dirt can sometimes get trapped within the leaves of leeks, I like to give the chopped leeks a good rinse using a colander.
Any type of onion will work, but shallots are my favourite for soups as they are especially sweet. Remove the skin and chop finely.
Prepare the garlic by removing the skin and chopping. The quantity of garlic is up to you, I have given a guide in the recipe, but feel free to adjust depending on how much you like it.
I think tarragon is absolutely yummy in soup. It is not that easy to grow, but should be easy to track down in shops. Soak the leaves in water for a few minutes, rip the leaves off the stems, and dice into small pieces. The smell of chopped tarragon will be lovely!
Prepare the thyme the same way, soaking and ripping off the small leaves from any thick stems. Lightly slice the leaves to help release their flavour.
The bay leaves simply need to be washed before using.
To cook the stock, take your largest pan and add around 4 lites of water. When adding the water, make sure it will not overflow when you add all the ingredients! The pan should also have a lid.
I like to start by adding the peppercorns and salt so that I don’t forget to do this!
All the other ingredients need to be added to the pan:
- The leeks
- The finely chopped onion
- Chopped garlic
- Bay leaves
- And thyme
Finish by washing a few sprigs of fresh parsley and rip this up as you add it to the pan.
Now that everything is in the pan, just by looking at it, it is possible to see that the stock will be bursting full of vitamins, nutrition, and above all, flavour. Give everything a quick stir before transferring to the hob.
The hob should be on a high heat to bring the pan to the boil. Give the stock a stir every now and then and make sure nothing is sticking to the base of the pan.
When the mixture reaches boiling point, give one more stir, turn the heat down low, and cover with a lid to keep a gentle simmer. I recommend leaving it this way for at least one hour.
After cooking, the stock, and likely your kitchen too, will smell delicious. All that remains is to carefully sieve the stock to separate out the liquid. Fresh stock should keep for four or five days in the fridge, but if decanted into containers, will keep for around 6 months in a freezer.
Homemade stock is an easy and delicious base for making yummy homemade soups. Enjoy.