Saturday, November 19, 2011

Janice's Veggie Stock with Caramelized Onion

I don't have the tools to do the nutrition facts for this particular stock, so I am going to link to Calorie Count's vegetable stock facts of the my favorite prepared stock - Kitchen Basics.

Veggie Stock with Caramelized Onion


1 tablespoon pure olive oil
1 large onion*, rinsed, roots trimmed off, quartered and layers peeled apart (save the peel, you will use it in the stock)
pinch salt
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks and make sure you include a lot of the tasty leaves
2 large carrots - unpeeled, ends trimmed off, and cut into large (oh, two inch or so chunks that are then cut in half
1 leek, rinsed, cut a little above the green and then halve
1 sweet red bell pepper, rinsed, trimmed seeds removed, and cut into large chunks
8 cloves garlic, leave the skin on, and smash with a nice garlic smasher
8 sprigs fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme if you have it, or use 2 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
pinch of salt
lots of cracked black pepper or whole pepper corns
2 quarts water


Heat oil over medium low in your stock pot. Add the onion and the pinch of salt and saute until they turn a beautiful brown. Do not stir all the time, just every now and then to prevent burning. The onions have to remain in contact with the hot oil to brown well. This step adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the stock. 

Once the onion is caramelized, add all but the second pinch of salt, pepper, and water. This is where you add in the onion peels. They too have lots of flavor.

Saute over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir, frequently.

Add salt, pepper, and water and bring to a near boil.

Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for an hour or two or until the stock has reduced a bit. Strain and discard the vegetables. Taste and adjust the seasonings. You can add all sorts of seasonings such as marjoram - use whatever you like to add to soup. To really make it super low fat, allow to chill in the fridge a bit and then skim off the little bit of fat that solidifies on top. Speaking of soup, you can just add in some fresh chopped veggies and such and simmer a bit more covered until the veggies are tender and enjoy some of the most awesome soup ever.

Stock freezes well. Since most recipes call for stock measured in cups, measure label and freeze in that way in good freezer containers - Zip lock bags work well, they can be laid flat and not take up so much space in the freezer. Just keep the zipper part elevated until the stock freezes!

Add just about any veggie trimmings you may have on that day. The simmering will extract every last bit of nutrition and flavor so you can have the healthiest soup ever.


  1. Can I throw the veggies in a blender and make puree with them instead of throwing them away?

  2. your veggies will have the skin from onions as well as whole peppercorns and such. Things most people don't eat. The stock making process pretty much removed the flavors and nutrition from the veggies and condensed it into stock. It would likely just be glutenous tasteless mush.

    Better to add veggies prepped in the usual way to your stock and make soup!

    If anyone knows of a purpose for the used up veggies and herbs that I am not aware of, I'd appreciate knowing about it!

  3. Add the discarded vegetable moosh to your compost. You do compost, don't you?

  4. But you don't want the oil from the onion carmelization to go into your compost, do you? Or would all that just end up in the stock anyway?

  5. I'd like to tell you from a position of Knowledge. But, I will only tell you from a position of supposition. The oil is something that will be taken off as it rises to the top during the cooling - as any fat would - and can be removed entirely which is why stock is so low in calories. I would not worry about the oil in the onion. No oil in the compost and no oil in the stock!

  6. Cuisine at Home magazine had a recipe for veggie burgers made from stock remnants--it would be worth looking into, as there are frequently lots of good veggies left after the stock has been strained.

  7. You could make a spice bag with some cheesecloth and kitchen twine, if you don't want them in your veggie puree/veggie burgers. That way, you just remove the bundle before using the stock remnants.

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  9. I was looking for something like this, thank you! I just wanted to add if you slice your veggies really thin and caramelize all of them they will fall apart while they simmer. even the celery. I cut mine on a bias, I don't know if it matters. You don't want to caramelize garlic though, its not very good when burned. If you hit your pan with a dash of fortified wine (port, brandy, sherry, vermouth, not cisco) when things start to stick the sugars in it will make them caramelize faster.