Escoffier claimed “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” A staple and medicinal cure-all in traditional households and the prime ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from meat or vegetables is a beautiful meal-base ingredient to always have on hand in the freezer, and has been revered for generations for its ability to nurture the sick and nourish families.
For chefs, stock is the charmed elixir for making soul-warming soups and spectacular sauces.
Vegetable broths made mindfully at home are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to use up leftover veggies, making it a fabulously frugal and environmentally friendly household staple.
If you’re looking to be a more conscious consumer, a homemade stock using up all of your on-hand veggies are the perfect way to enter into the world of frugality, and can help you to justify spending a little extra on quality organic ingredients as you find use for every last skerrick of produce to create delicious meals for you and your family to enjoy.
Beyond adding delicious flavour as the bases of sauces, stocks, soups and stews, they also act as a supercharged “tonic” that are wonderful for adding a dose of healing nutrients that are empowering for health.
Many of the minerals and vital nutrients contained within vegetables are actually bound up within the cell walls of the raw product. Long, slow and gentle cooking actually allows for the breakdown of the cell walls of veggies so that your digestive system can have easy access to the uptake of nutrients.
This is an especially helpful process if you suffer from leaky gut or malabsorption. Adding broths and stocks is an extra insurance policy to ensure that your body is being flooded with easy-to-digest nutrients and it’s one of the staples in my book Heal Your Gut and Heal Your Gut online programs.
I love to experiment with different flavours of seasonal vegetables, herbs and scrap leftovers to create nourishing stocks and tasty, nutrient-rich broths that are both delicious and healing.
When making the shift from store bought, additive laden stock cubes and carton-housed broths to homemade nourishing creations, be sure to purchase chemical free and organically grown vegetables wherever possible as these will yield the highest quality of nutrients and remove the possibility of leeching harmful pesticides into your broth that are harmful to your precious microbiome.
Whilst you can create amazing veggie stocks simply by throwing in any on-hand veggie scraps such as celery leaves, carrots, onions, garlic, herbs, spices and other garden dwellers, this particular stock is my favourite. I consider it my ‘Best Ever’ roasted vegetable stock.
Taking a little extra time to roast the veg will boost the flavour tenfold and injects a sweet and savoury flavour that is the key foundation for an array of scrumptious soups, casseroles and slow cooking. It adds beautifully to delicate summer soups and hearty winter bowls.
Proportions don’t need to be to the lettuce, oops letter – just throw in what you have and create a melting pot of goodness. Use top-quality veg and be bold with healing seasonings.
I hope you enjoy my best ever roasted vegetable stock.
Makes 1-.125 litres (4-5 cups)
- 2 large onions, skin on, quartered or thickly sliced
- 2 parsnips, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, skin on
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), quartered and seeds removed
- 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 55 g (2 oz/1 small bunch) flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- 4–5 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz / 1/3 cup) apple cider vinegar
- filtered water, to cover
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Put all the vegetables in a roasting pan and splash with the olive oil, tossing to coat.
- Roast for 45 minutes, stirring often. You may have to remove the vegetables that cook faster as they are ready. Once all the vegetables are cooked, transfer them to a large stockpot or flameproof casserole dish over medium heat on the stovetop. A slow cooker can also be used. Add the herbs, peppercorns and apple cider vinegar, then add filtered water to cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Topping up with water if required.
- Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, store in an airtight container in the fridge and use as needed.
By Lee Holmes
Follower her on instagram @leesupercharged
Check out Lee’s website superchargedfoods.com