Jan 6/2010
Basic Vegetable Stock

This stock recipe was kindly provided by Chef Heidi Fink, an accomplished Victoria-based chef, food writer and cooking class instructor.
Heidi is a passionate V.I.F. (very important foodie) who shares her passion for cooking healthy and flavourful food in a way that empowers the home cook with the tools for success in the kitchen. Her classes are packed with tips and fun. You will leave with a full belly and tons of confidence to try out your new recipes and skills at home.

Check out Heidi’s website for her winter/spring 2010 class schedule. Look out for the next ‘Foundations of Flavourful Vegetarian Soups’ on Feb.2 at the Fairfield Community Centre and the ‘Local Food Challenge’ at Royal Roads on March 23.

Chef Heidi Fink

Chef Heidi Fink

2 tb butter or oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 leed, white and green parts divided, cleaned and sliced
2-3 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
2-3 tb dry brown lentils (optional)
1 tsp coarsely cracked OR whole peppercorns
stems from 1 bunch of fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dry thyme OR 2 springs fresh thyme
150 g cauliflower, chopped fine (include core)
1 fresh tomato, roughly chopped
15 cups cold spring or filtered water

Optional additions: dried mushrooms, rinds of parmesan cheese, green beans, squash seeds and skin, potato peels, apples, other herbs, parsnips, shallots, turnips, corn cobs.

Avoid: bell peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, cabbage, greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli. Only use strong-tasting vegetables and herbs (ie. asparagus, rosemary, mint) if the stock has a specific purpose (ie. asparagus soup, minestrone)

In a large stockpot gently melt the butter. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms along with a generous pinch of salt. Stir well to coat vegetables evenly with butter. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, and adding a little water if necessary to prevent burning. Add the leek whites after about 10 minutes. Continue to cook until the vegetables are softened and flecked with brown, about 10 minutes more.

Add 14 cups of water, the salt, bay leaves, parsley stems, lentils (if using), peppercorns and thyme. Slowly bring to a boil and then immediately add 1 cup cold water and turn down the heat. Let simmer gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Now add the cauliflower and the leek greens. Increase heat to regain a simmer, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Add the tomato. Continue to let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand several minutes before straining. Use a fine sieve to strain your stock. Let site for up to 10 minutes to drain well, but do not press on the solids to extract more flavour. You can use this stock immediately or refrigerate it overnight to solididy the butterfat for easy removal.

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