Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Vegan Thanksgiving, Part III: Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock is an extremely important ingredient in vegan cooking. It is the foundation for soups, stews, pasta sauces, and more. A good stock is also crucial to a successful Thanksgiving dinner. I know I have already provided a recipe for vegetable stock on this blog, in my post on Wonton Soup. That is still an excellent recipe; it's also a faster recipe with a much shorter ingredient list. But, this is Thanksgiving people. It only comes around once a year, and it's worth the extra effort. This recipe comes from the cookbook Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, a book that has been sitting in my family home most of my life. Wells is a renowned chef, an American in Paris, and a dear friend of my idol Ina Garten. She is the go-to expert for approachable French food. Her recipe for Potager Stock results in a complex, light, exquisite vegetable broth. Just simmering this stock will make your house smell like Thanksgiving. It will also set up your soups, stuffings, and gravies for success.

4 leeks, only the white and light green part, chopped in 2" pieces
4 carrots chopped in 2" pieces
4 turnips halved and quartered
4 ribs celery chopped in 2" pieces (I left the celery out of mine; it is one of the few vegetables I can't abide)
4 onions halved and unpeeled
1 head of garlic halved and unpeeled
2 tomatoes halved and seeded
2 large bunches of parsley
1 large bunch of thyme (about 10 sprigs)
1 large bunch of rosemary (about 6 sprigs)
2 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
4 quarts (16 cups) water

Place all the vegetables in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour and a half, uncovered. Strain the vegetables from the broth, squeezing as much liquid as you can out of the vegetables. Refrigerate or freeze the stock for later use.

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