I am a sucker for homemade broth. I like my soups to be made from the chicken stock that I keep stashed in the freezer at all times. I've been looking for a vegetable broth to add to the mix, but hadn't come across one with enough flavor to give it a leg up on the chicken variety.
I started thinking about how delicious it might be if the vegetables were roasted, all their flavors developed and made rich and fragrant before simmering in water. It took only 5 second on Epicurious to find a recipe from Bon Appétit that did just that. The result rivals the best of the chicken stock.
Making broth is purely satisfying. A couple minutes of chopping, and the heat does all the work. It's great for weekends in which I'm running through a list that includes emptying and cleaning all the pantry shelves, writing a hundred emails, putting the final touches on travel plans for the coming months and squeezing in some good quality time with my husband who has thankfully returned home - no worse for the wear after 10 days in Bangladesh (although fairly tired of eating curry).
I have made this recipe twice and each time the broth came out deep, rich, and fragrant. Last week, when I was trying to cure myself of that mid-March cold, I added chopped sweet potatoes, spinach, onions, and herbs to this broth and had a satisfying and restorative soup.
Now, with a stash of this in the freezer, I'm already plotting the many ways in which to use it. Gourmet's mushroom risotto may be first in line.
Roasted Vegetable Broth
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup quartered crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ½ cup chopped parsnips
- ½ cup sliced celery
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Swiss chard (including stems)
- ½ cup thinly sliced leek (white and pale green parts only)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (including stems)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large, oven-safe, soup pot. Drizzle oil over; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast vegetables until tender and golden, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Add 2 cups water to the soup pot; stir vegetables, scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Add remaining 6 cups water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Strain broth through a sieve.
- Use immediately, refrigerate for several days, or freeze.
Wow, I bet you'd get amazing depth of flavour from roasting the veggies first, great idea. When I lived in Vancouver and had a deep freezer in my apartment I used to make veggie broth and freeze it all the time. Now in Sweden I've got a smaller apartment with a smaller fridge a way smaller freezer, and no deep freezer. I really should look into buying another deep freezer because it opens up so many possibilities for cooking seasonally and in bulk and stashing things away. For now it's a supreme battle for freezer space - mostly my soups, muffins, purees vs the husband's beer mugs. I usually win, except for on weekends (and except for when I find him icing his tired runners legs with a packet of frozen pumpkin puree!)
I totally hear you - I find myself wishing I had a deep freezer all the time, although there would definitely not be space for it in our current place. As a result, freezer space is at a premium and definitely good evidence of what we value most. Ours is currently full of bagels, which is an easy sell for my husband!
I tend to use whatever vegetables we have in the fridge as a good "clean-out". In the past I've used: corn cobs, broccoli stems, parsley stems or the ends of asparagus. They all taste great, so play around with different things (or what you can't use up).
Great suggestion - I'll have to try it with different vegetables that you suggest!
My english sometimes fails, but, what is the difference between broth and stock? The cooking method of the broth seems quicker andd easier when compared to a traditional vegetables stock.
Fabio - it's a great question, and I'm certainly no expert, but I think of stock as an unseasoned base for other dishes. Traditionally, in Thailand, cooks don't add salt to stock, so it doesn't taste great on its own. The idea is that if you use stock, you add salt to the dish as you go.
Broth, on the other hand, is salted and seasoned enough that it should taste good on its own. My favorite broths (like the one above) only need some vegetables thrown in to make a great soup. They should require little else.
Having said all that, I use the two interchangeably and just add salt and other seasonings as needed. Thanks for the great question/comment!
Perfect, even so I loved the idea of using broth instead of stock. I'm studying culinary arts and i just prepared stock twice. It takes too long for the flavor come out. At home, unfortunately, i use bouillon cubes.
Loved your blog.
Fabio - Brazil
By the way, when I make "stock", I use this basic recipe (as you can see, it uses no salt) - https://inquiringchef.com/2011/03/15/on-making-stock-and-slowing-down/. It is full of flavor, but those flavors really only come out once it is used in another dish. I find that this stock works great when I want to add flavor but want control over the salt content. I cook quinoa and basic grains in this stock. I also use it any time I make a sauce (salted broth could become far too salty when it reduces into a sauce).