Vegetable Stock

Stock cubes have improved greatly in recent years, and I would not be without them. But homemade Vegetable Stock is quite quick to make and adds an extra dimension to soups etc.

Ingredients for Vegetable Stock

1 large onion
½ large leek (or 2 onions and omit)
4 medium carrots
4 sticks celery
1 large tomato
200g soaked weight of dried shiitake mushrooms (add the soaking water to the stock)
2tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs thyme
A few parsley stalks
A few pepper corns
100ml white wine
1500ml water

You need plenty of the holy trinity of onion, carrot and celery, but you can also add pretty much any other vegetables you like ( though I would be pretty sparing with things like sprouts and parsnip.)

Rather than throwing them away, I save trimmings of all my vegetables to use in stock.

One other thing: dried mushrooms give a wonderful flavour, but dried porcinis for example are eye-wateringly expensive. But I have found that you can buy a large bag of dried shiitake mushrooms for a fraction of the price from good Chinese supermarkets.

Method

1. Blitz the vegetables (including the mushrooms) in a food processor.
2.  Heat the oil in a large pan and add the vegetables. Cover and allow to soften for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Strain.

Tip: this should yield about 1200ml stock. Because this is bulky to store if not using immediately, I boil this down to concentrate.
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