Himmat’s Light Vegetable Stock (replaces Chicken Stock)

Vegetable stocks don’t all have to taste like parsley and potato.  If you are careful with selecting your ingredients and flavour and simmer the stock appropriately, you can have a very tasty vegetable stock that replaces chicken stock, fish stock, lamb stock and beef stock.  It won’t taste exactly the same but it will be a wonderfully tasty substitute for the vegans and vegetarians in your life.

Himmat’s Light Vegetable Stock (Replaces Chicken Stock)

In truth, I use a variety of vegetables for vegetable stock, which I prefer to make myself rather than have all the sodium that comes from packaged varieties.  I simply use whatever might be available in the fridge and in the local supermarket (as you can see from the video above).  However, I find that this one makes a very tasty, light on the sodium, stock that is a great substitute for chicken stock in most dishes.  It makes about 6 litres of stock, less if you want to condense it to a more intense flavour and more if you want an even lighter flavour.

Ingredients

4 Yukon Gold potatoes (or other variety suitable for boiling), roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled, ends removed and roughly chopped
4 yellow onions, peeled and lightly chopped
3 or 4 stalks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, stem removed with slits cut into the sides (do not deseed or chop the tomato)
1 small eggplant, roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, peels removed and cloves lightly smashed
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp salt
1 green bell pepper, stem removed, seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
Ground black pepper, to taste

Method

In a large stock pot, add the potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, tomato, eggplant, garlic, ginger, salt and bell pepper along with about 10 litres of water (this is 2 1/2 gallons).  Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer.  Put the lid on the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  Add the rosemary, thyme and black pepper and allow to simmer another 1/2 hour, uncovered.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes or so.  Gently remove the vegetables to a strainer, pushing lightly on them to extract the last bits of veggie goodness back to the pot.

Tips

I feed the boiled vegetables to my room mate who loves the boiled onions.  I’ve also used them in the past to feed our dog a nice treat, but remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs if you are going to do this.  I fed the pup rosemary once and was (maybe coincidentally) rewarded with a full day of picking up the explosive result… sigh.  You can also add the vegetables (and their peels) to the compost pile.

The stock holds up well in the refrigerator in airtight containers for about 3 days but we normally use what we need for whatever we are cooking and freeze the remainder in one or two cup size plastic containers.  It freezes extremely well and will last in the freezer for several months.

The stock should be fairly clear.  If it’s cloudy, it’s likely that your choice of potato (or some other vegetable you’ve added) is too starchy and not a variety that holds up to long periods of boiling/simmering.  Try a different potato or try soaking the chopped potatoes in room temperature water for an hour before you boil them to remove much of the starch.  Or you may have chopped the tomato.  Did you do that?  Did you chop up the tomato?  Why did you do that?  Or did you try to push all the veggies through that strainer like an Olympian?  Don’t worry about it.  I’ve done all these things and a cloudy stock is just as tasty as a clear one.  I just use it to make things were the cloudly stock doesn’t matter (like the Crostini recipe above) and not other things where you want a clear stock like minestrone or veggie wonton soup.

Feel free to experiment, keeping in mind that root vegetables like carrot, potato, turnip and sweet potato make good options for a nice clear stock.  Also vegetables that hold up well to boiling like eggplant, zucchini and fruits like pumpkin, some varieties of apple and squash are also good options.  French beans, green beans and wax beans are also nice.  I find cauliflower and broccoli can’t hold up to the simmering and make the stock a little cloudy.  So do some legumes like navy beans, lima beans and chickpeas.

This is a chicken stock replacement, in that it makes a lighter stock that can be used in place of chicken stock.  It is not going to taste like chicken stock but you’re not going to notice that in most your recipes.

You don’t need to add more salt to the stock pot.  The place to adjust the salt is once you’ve used the stock in whatever recipe you are making.  Seriously.  Be nice to your heart and leave the salt alone.  Come on, put that shaker down.  Good job.  So proud!

If you’re looking for a replacement for fish, lamb or beef stock, stay tuned.  I have solutions for them all.

Until next time,
Peace & love all,
Himmat

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