Richly flavored stocks and broths are not only about collagen and bones
scraps may come to mind when you’re piecing together a vegetable stock—whatever is left on the cutting board is often thrown in a pot and simmered to murky results. But while writing my book Mastering Stocks and Broths, I found a more precise approach made for better stock. Removing moisture from vegetables before simmering made them far more impactful. Roasting, for example, intensifies mushrooms’ earthy flavor. Dehydrating brings out a pungent sweetness in winter squash. Aging and fermenting, as in black garlic, lends umami and tamarind-like complexity. Try the unique flavor of these stocks in soups and sauces.
1. Roasted Mushroom Stock MAKES 12 CUPS Total: 2 hr. 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl, toss 1½ lb. mixed mushrooms (preferably darker varieties such as cremini); 1 lb. cleaned leeks; ½ lb. each diced white onion, carrot, and parsnip; and ½ diced fennel bulb with 3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil. Roast on 2 baking sheets for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a pot and add 1 Tbsp. dry vermouth, 12 cups cold water, 2 sprigs marjoram, 4 sprigs parsley, 12 black peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves; simmer, skimming occasionally, 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes, then ladle through cheesecloth, discarding any solids and the cloudy liquid at the bottom of the pot.
2. Winter Squash Stock MAKES 8 CUPS Total: 10 hr.
Slice 3 lb. winter squash, leaving the seeds intact; toss with 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil. In a dehydrator or oven on a lined baking sheet, heat at 150°–170°F, turning once, until dried, 8–10 hours. In a pot, heat ¼ cup grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add 1 lb. each diced cleaned leeks and carrots, ½ lb. diced white onion, ½ diced fennel bulb, and ½ head garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Add 2 sprigs thyme, 8 peppercorns, a bay leaf, and enough cold water just to cover; simmer, skimming, for 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, then ladle through cheesecloth, discarding any solids.
3. Black (Aged) Garlic Stock MAKES 8 CUPS Total: 2 hr.
Separate the skin and cloves from 3 heads of black garlic. In a bowl, toss ½ lb. each diced white onion and cleaned leeks, ¼ lb. diced parsnips, and ½ diced fennel bulb with 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Spread onto 2 baking sheets and roast at 350°F, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Transfer to a stock pot with 2 sprigs each thyme and parsley, 1 bay leaf, the cloves and peel from the black garlic, and just enough water to cover. Simmer, skimming occasionally, for 45 minutes. Rest 10 minutes, then strain through cheesecloth, discarding any solids. Taste and add up to 1 tsp. soy sauce and some sea salt if needed.
Vegetable stocks have a short shelf life; without animal collagen, there is little to bind the essences captured within. Use within 2 days, or freeze as needed. 3