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)
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.