Vegetable stock is a great option if you are short on time, but it usually takes a few tries to find the ingredient combinations you like best. The recipe given below will give you nice results, but if you experiment with your favorite flavors, I promise you will find something you absolutely love. You can add almost any vegetable you want, the trick is to have a balance of flavors. You can add the finished stock to cous cous, noodle dishes, caramelized potatoes, soups, use it for frying eggs, etc.
Basic Vegetable Stock
2 celery stalks
3-4 garlic cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 stalks of parsley (with all the leaves)
Chop everything very coarsely. For example, peel your onion and chop it into quarters, cut your carrots once lengthwise, once crosswise, etc. If you're in a hurry you can chop things smaller (more surface area means faster cooking time) but watch it carefully if you do. It's easy to overcook vegetable stock when everything is chopped small.
Throw it in a big stock pot and add water until the vegetables are just covered – you want a high vegetable to water ratio. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour. Then pour it through a strainer.
You can put some in jars in the fridge, but you want to use them within 3-4 days. Freeze the rest in ice cube trays and you have easy "bouillon cubes."
Some tips: if you add too much carrot, it will be too sweet, and anything in the Brassica genus (broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, etc.) should be used VERY sparingly. Mushrooms – (especially dried, and especially dried porcini) are a great addition, but a little goes a very long way, so again, use sparingly.
Lorraine currently lives in Morocco with her husband and daughter where she teaches Oceanography and Geology at a local English language university. She enjoys camping, hiking, SCUBA diving and handstands.