Quick Bites from Pender

Vegetable Stock – Recipe

In Recipes on December 6, 2009 at 4:52 pm

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.

vegetable stock ingredients

Vegetable Stock

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.
  1. […] of stock will work here — veal or beef is used in a classic french onion soup.  If using vegetable stock, I would throw in a piece of kombu (seaweed) with the fennel to give the soup some extra body.  […]

  2. Thanks for posting this. I haven’t put much rigor into perfecting vegetable stock, and as a result it’s been disappointing. I’ll try your recipe next chance I get. No parsnip?

    • Vegetable stock is better than water, but does leave something to be desired when you compare it to the impact that chicken/beef stock has to a final dish. Throw a parsnip in there and see how it goes — it certainly won’t hurt.

      Do not use cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or any other brassica though — too strong, and will leave your stock with an unpleasant taste.

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