For vegetarians or those just trying to cut down on meat consumption, a tasty vegetable stock will add immeasurable flavor to many dishes. When making your own stock, try adding vegetables or herbs to match the flavor of the dishes you’ll be making. For instance, add ginger to the stock to complement Asian dishes. Or add a few sprigs of fresh cilantro to the stock to marry with Mexican dishes. Experiment with vegetables and seasonings, but avoid very strong-tasting vegetables such as broccoli.
2 cups (500 ml) chopped onions
2 cups (500 ml) chopped carrots
1 cup (250 ml) chopped celery
4 halved garlic cloves
4 sprigs parsley
1 to 2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of thyme
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof container, pressing on solids, Discard solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool. Refrigerate in airtight containers for 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.
Yield: Makes about 4 cups (1 liter)
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