To be used in soups as well as a broth added to grain dishes and whatnot. You’ll definitely need to add salt when using it later, since none is added here. Make sure all of the vegetables have been cleaned of dirt.
- 9 to 12 black peppercorns
- 1 to 1/2 cup unchopped chervil and/or parsley; don’t use cilantro, however, as this would add bitterness
- 1 to 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 2 leeks, chopped into 1 inch pieces; remove the very root ends, but include the green tops
- 2 medium boiling potatoes, chopped into thick pieces
- 2 white or yellow onions, skins removed and quartered
- 4 whole cloves: each stuck into an onion quarter
- 3 to 4 medium carrots unpeeled, chopped into thick pieces
- 1 to 2 celery stalks, chopped into thick pieces
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
- 1 apple or pear, quartered
- (optional) 1 sweet potato; this adds a nice sweetness
- 3 1/2 quarts water; use bottled or filtered water, if possible
- Put the peppercorns, chervil (and/or parsley) and bay leaves into a 10 quart pot. Putting the lighter items on the bottom will reduce their chances of floating up to the top while cooking.
- Put the rest of the ingredients into the pot.
- Pour in the water.
- Cover and carefully bring to a boil. Then set the heat to the lowest possible setting so that it continues to simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes; you don’t want to cook the stock much longer, or it will become bitter (unlike, oddly, most animal-based stocks). Scrape off and dispose of any scum that rises to the surface.
- Put a sieve that has four layers of cheesecloth into a dish from which you can easily pour, or into the ultimate storage containers. Select containers which can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures.
- Ladle the liquid into the sieve. Transfer liquid to additional containers as necessary.
- Ladle as much of the remaining solid veggie matter that can be covered by the cheesecloth. Then grasp the ends of the cloth together over the veggies and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Dispose of the cloth and veggies (put the latter in the compost).
- Repeat steps (5) through (7) as needed. It’s best not to reuse the cheesecloth, though.
- You should get about 3 to 3 1/2 quarts of stock. It’ll stay fine in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days. Freezes, well, indefinitely. 😉