Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.
Meat eaters have a great many options for different stock types to use in their cooking. Chicken and beef stock are probably the most popular, but other possibilities include fish stock or even lamb stock. Unfortunately for vegetarians, the options are nowhere near as extensive, and vegetable stock of some type is pretty much the only option when making soups, risottos and more (other than plain water). One bit of good news, however, is that vegetable stock is much quicker to prepare than stock made from animal bones. Equally, the possible recipes for vegetable stock are all but infinite, and this is but one suggestion you may wish to consider.
Ingredients for and Preparation of Vegetable Stock
- 3 small or 2 medium carrots
- 1 medium white onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/4 fennel bulb
- 1 stick of celery
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Small bunch celery leaves
- Small bunch curly or flat leafed parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 pints water
- When making stock, there is no need to spend any great length of time immaculately preparing the vegetables. Quick and rustic is pretty much the name of the game. The carrots should be washed (but not peeled) then roughly chopped.
- Similarly, wash and trim the celery stick before chopping it into 4 or 5 pieces.
- Peel the onion and quarter it.
- The fennel should be washed and thickly sliced.
- Remove the seeds and stalk from the green bell pepper and thickly slice. There is no need to chop the herbs, but the parsley and celery leaves should of course be washed.
- The olive oil should be gently heated in a stock pot before the carrot, fennel, celery, onion and green pepper are added to be sweated off for 3 or 4 minutes.
- The peppercorns and herbs should then be added along with the water.
- Turn up the heat and bring to a fairly rapid simmer for half an hour.
- When the stock has simmered for half an hour, turn off the heat. Although it is now ready to be sieved, you may wish to leave it to cool slightly to reduce the risk of getting splashed by the boiling liquid.
- Suspend a fine-meshed sieve over a large bowl.
- Pour the stock slowly and carefully through the sieve to remove the solid impurities.
- The stock can be used straight away, refrigerated (when cooled) for a day or two in a plastic dish, or deep frozen for up to 3 months.