Stock is another one of those staples that you’ll find in the Island Vittles kitchen. I use a lot of chicken stock, but because of my new job at the Market, where we try to keep the hot lunches vegetarian, I have been perfecting my veg stock over the past few weeks.
I tried roasting veggies to pull out the sweetness, but didn’t like the finished stock – too dark, and not the flavour I was looking for. So I went back to the basics that I learned at culinary school. I used the mirepoix as a foundation, but for extra depth I add the fennel stalks and garlic. Italian sounding, I know, but this stock works well in virtually every cuisine. It takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, including the prep.
Yield: 1 Litre
|Onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges||1 medium (1C)|
|Celery, coarsely chopped||1 stalk (½C)|
|Carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped||1 small (½C)|
|Fennel stalks, coarsely chopped, all feathery fronds removed||From 1 bulb (¾C) (reserve main bulb for another use)|
|Garlic, whole||1 clove|
|Bouquet Garnii||10 peppercorns, 2 sprigs thyme, 6 sprigs parsley, 2 bay leaves|
Place everything in a med sized saucepan and cover with 1L (4C) COLD water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to low. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain into a non-plastic container and cool. Refrigerate or freeze unless using immediately.
- This recipe can easily be multiplied to make large batches of stock. However, a single bouquet garnii and a couple of cloves of garlic will flavour a large volume, so there is no need to increase these ingredients.
- You can tie the contents of the bouquet garnii into a piece of cheesecloth, or do what I do: use a tea ball.
- Add a few mushroom stems for an umami injection.
- Never use salt when making a stock – this gives you more control when it comes to seasoning the finished dish, sauce, etc.
- The green feathery fronds on a fennel bulb will darken a stock to an unappetizing dark grey colour, so make sure to remove them from the stalks before throwing the latter into the stock pot. Use them for a garnish, or chop them into mayonnaise for an extra touch to your sandwich.
- If you don’t have fresh fennel, add a few fennel seeds into your bouquet garnii instead.