Favorite vegetable stock? Thank you!

Debra Dawson
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12 Comments

molly L. November 29, 2018
a game changer a friend told me about is adding the leftover rind of parmesan block to your usual homemade stock w/ vegetable scraps! it really takes the flavor to another level.
 
BerryBaby November 28, 2018
Pacific Foods or Swanson both are very good and convenient.
 
gandalf November 26, 2018
Here is a link to a Food52 article on making vegetable stock, which I have found useful: https://food52.com/blog/10119-how-to-make-vegetable-stock-without-a-recipe.

The scraps that I have most at hand are from what I usually grow in my garden -- chard stems, garlic, shallots, kale/collard stems -- plus leftover yellow/white onion pieces (plus the papery skins), broccoli stems (or scraps from any Brassica species, really) and carrots from nightly cooking.

I use two (2) gallon-sized bags of vegetable scraps, and cook them in a large pot containing 16 cups (4 quarts) of water.
 
702551 November 26, 2018
The best vegetable stock is Japanese vegetarian dashi. It is a keystone of “shojin ryori”, the 600+ year old tradition of Japanese Buddhist temple cuisine.

Of course the most important factors are very high quality ingredients (including the water) as well as careful execution (temperature, timing, etc.).

If you want to the easy way, just buy instant dashi packs from an Asian grocery store. The best brand that I have found in my neighborhood (SF Bay Area) is Kayanoya, a 125 year old company from Kyushu Island. You can also buy online:

https://usa.kayanoya.com/products/dashi

The dried ingredients have been ground into a powder and packaged in tea bags for quick steeping and easy cleanup (no straining). Home cooks in Japan use these frequently, a great convenience.

If you want to make from scratch, consult a book like Good Food From a Japanese Temple by Soei Yoneda, but I assure you the instant dashi packets are a fabulous time saver and you can have excellent vegetable stock in a few effortless minutes.
 
PieceOfLayerCake November 26, 2018
I love to save vegetable offcuts and freeze them for stock (chicken or vegetable). After many many combinations, I've found that simple works better. The more complicated the combination of vegetables, the more muddled the flavor. I usually stick with onion (leek greens are my favorite), carrot/parsnip peelings (washed), celery greens, and salt. You CAN add herbs like thyme, bay and parsley....but then your vegetable stock takes on that flavor strongly. I'd rather add herbs to the dishes I'm making. The traditional herb addition is a bouquet garni (thyme, bay, parsley...sometime sage). I've seen additions like peppercorns, garlic, mushrooms (I'd rather just make a mushroom stock), fennel, etc.

I've also tried roasting some of the vegetables before. It can be a good technique, but I always have to remind myself, stock is just a foundation for other flavors. So I keep it simple.

A couple interesting additions I saw mentioned and did get a richer flavor from were kombu (dried edible seaweed) and dried shiitake mushrooms (one could substitute porcini)....they impart a deepness that was good for a stock that went into dishes like risotto or pilaf....dishes were the stock might really shine. But again, those are additions that can be infused into the stock last minute (they don't really need to simmer), if you want those flavors.
 
Nancy November 26, 2018
Like POLC, I work from scraps and adapt.
You can get a good basic recipe to start your practice from any reliable veg cookbook. three i like are laurels kitchen, greens (d madison), h2 cook everything vegetarian (m bittman).
 
Nancy November 26, 2018
Better Deborah Madison cookbooks for stock...vegetarian cooking for everyone (original or revised)
 
Nancy November 26, 2018
One D Madison recipe:
https://www.cookstr.com/recipes/basic-vegetable-stock-deborah-madison
 
Michele K. November 26, 2018
I frequently use Swanson, which is less sweet than other brands. In a pinch, I will also use Better Than Bouillon paste, which comes in regular and low-salt. Very good flavor.
 
Nancy November 26, 2018
More info:
https://www.thekitchn.com/we-tried-7-brands-of-vegetable-broth-and-here-is-the-winner-224011
 
Nancy November 26, 2018
Recipe or commercial brand?
 
Debra D. November 26, 2018
Both are welcome! Thank you!
 
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