This vegetable broth recipe, made with vegetable scraps, is economical and easy and vegetarian and can be kept in the freezer.
LC Guilty Conscience Note
Do you get clobbered by a guilty conscience each time you let vegetables languish in the fridge? Yeah, us too. “Even when I toss perfectly good veggie scraps into the compost bin, I feel a tug at my conscience telling me the act is wrong,” says the author of this lovely, if loosely defined, vegetable broth recipe. Gah. It’s like she can read our minds. No more guilt, though. Not with this recipe.
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 4 H
- Makes about 6 cups
Rinse your veggie scraps and toss them into a stock pot. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, maybe a few cloves of garlic or a shallot, any extra herbs you’ve got lying around, and maybe a rind of Parmesan, if you want. (You can veer from the recipe and use practically anything you want.) Cover everything with plenty of water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down to achieve a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and watch your scraps turn into nourishment after a few hours of simmering.
When the vegetable broth is infused with flavor, turn off the heat and let the liquid cool a bit. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the used vegetables right into the compost bin and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer.
Use your vegetable broth to make risottos, soups, stews—any recipe you crave. You can stick the broth in lidded containers or resealable plastic bags and stash in the fridge for up to several days or toss it in the freezer until you need it.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I don’t know why I don’t make this vegetable broth every week. I know there are all sorts of vegetable peelings and trimmings going into the garbage. I know I need stock all the time. And I’ve known how to make vegetable stock for years! The problem is that I only think about it when a recipe calls for it and then it’s too late, so I go with the commercial variety. This recipe is so easy and takes no time at all. Just gather the ingredients you’ve been collecting in your fridge, throw them in a pot of water, and simmer for 2 hours. I used scraps of leek, zucchini, broccoli stems, some slightly aged carrots, celery stalks with their tops, and small amounts of basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and chive which I harvested from my terrace pots. My yield from this recipe was 6 cups. I haven’t done anything with the stock yet and most of it's in my freezer. However, I do see some lovely soups and risottos in my future. What a great way to make some deliciously useful stock without any strange additives and save some money at the same time! I’m pledging to make my own vegetable stock every week or so in time for the holidays when I know I’ll need a small ocean of stock.
I like to see a recipe confirming or suggesting what I intuitively do, giving me confirmation that I am not being silly frugal in my kitchen. One of the reasons I like making vegetable broth is that I’ve only found one brand of store-prepared broth that’s not too sweet. The major failing with most packaged vegetable broths is that they rely too much on onions and carrots and other root vegetables. I stash the excess celery stalks, Parmesan rinds, and leek tops in my freezer for use in chicken or vegetable broth. Since I was using leeks this week, I had several sections of light green leeks saved from a recipe that only wanted the white portion, a half quart celery stalks and leaves, nice tops from some kohlrabi, and half a dozen Parmesan rinds. I’d been saving them to make a broth of just Parmesan, but I thought this combination would work nicely with garlic, shallots, and bay. A teaspoon of kosher salt went in before I remembered to use sea salt, but no harm done, and I used a hefty 1/2 tablespoon of a mixed peppercorn blend. If I didn’t already have a specific soup in mind I probably would have added parsley, lemongrass, or thyme, as I do in my chicken stock. I brought it to boil in a tall pot, reduced it to a simmer, and set it on the back of the stove for a bit over 2 hours. Then I strained it, cooled it, and refrigerated it. Once it’s chilled thoroughly, I skimmed off a little fat—from the Parmesan, I believe.
I realize this is mostly a method rather than a recipe—and that’s the brilliance behind it. You can do this yourself with very little effort and lots of choices that give you total control. (You could add dry mushrooms for a heartier flavor.) Next thing you know, you’ll be doing a court bouillon in your sleep!