Vegetarian cooking presents a problem when it comes to stock. In the absence of poultry, fish or meat, it is difficult to prepare a truly rich stock, the foundation of any cuisine. But, of course, it is the animal fat that makes it ‘rich’, and for many people that is too high a price to pay.
Although vegetable stocks tend to lack robustness they can still serve our purpose. One of the best vegetarian stocks I have ever sampled was that of Chef
Although the use of such a quantity of vegetables may sound extravagant, we must remember that we are distilling essences here and, moreover, it is a fraction of what it would cost to make a meat stock.
I have found that browning the vegetables in the oven before simmering helps to impart flavours to the stock.
Since this vegetable stock recipe is easy to make, I suggest that you prepare a fairly large quantity, as it freezes quite well and is essential to have on hand. Again, if you don’t have the time to make stock from scratch, there are some acceptable commercial vegetarian stocks available now.
If you find the amount in this recipe too large for your needs, make half.
© 2002 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.